2018 results: Jobs for Pierce County citizens

2018 was a year of changes in Tacoma/Pierce County 

The EDB unveiled its 2018 results at its annual meeting on March 7. You want good jobs? Our clients got ‘em.

With support from private and public sector partners, the EDB assisted with four major company expansions and one recruitment last year. Combined, these represent $96 million dollars in private capital investment and more than 1,100 jobs retained and created in Pierce County.

“We welcomed more great jobs and private investment in 2018,” said Bruce Kendall, EDB president and CEO. “It’s all about teamwork, and we give a high-five to the EDB’s partners who once again stepped up to provide top-shelf support to these companies.”

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Tool Gauge (growing from 135 to 235 jobs, $22 million investment). The EDB partnered with City of Tacoma, Pierce County, Impact Washington and the Washington State Department of Commerce to support the aerospace manufacturer’s first major expansion. Tool Gauge will open its new 81,000- square-foot, state-of-the art aerospace manufacturing facility this year.

AIM Aerospace (growing from 385 to 685 jobs, $21 million investment). The aerospace supplier will consolidate multiple plants into two facilities in Sumner and Renton. The EDB, City of Sumner, Pierce County and the Washington State Department of Commerce assisted AIM with critical introductions, permitting and parking, and helped the company tap into $125,000 from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund.

SeaTac Packaging (growing from 95 to 145 jobs, $19 million investment). The manufacturer of bags used to package a variety of products opted to remain in its existing Puyallup plant and expand to a site in the Frederickson Industrial Area. The company’s new 103,000-square-foot facility is slated for completion in May. The EDB and Pierce County assisted with introductions, permitting and bond financing.

BPI Medical (45 jobs retained). When this homegrown medical device manufacturer and repair facility outgrew its leased space in Fife, the company explored site locations around the region. BPI acquired an existing building in Fife. The EDB facilitated introductions and provided information on available incentives, permitting, workforce resources and financing programs.

McKesson Corporation (74 jobs, $29.2 million investment). This was a key recruitment win. The global provider of pharmaceutical and medical products is expected to open its new distribution center in Puyallup sometime this year. The EDB worked closely with the Washington State Department of Commerce and City of Puyallup. Connecting McKesson with the city early in the process was key, and introductions to utility and workforce development organizations will help ensure a smooth path to opening.

The longer view

Most deals take more than a year to wrap up. That’s why the EDB measures results in five-year increments. The numbers for 2014-2018 are impressive:

Other highlights: Last year brought buzz of the potential Boeing Mid-market Airplane. Sometime this year, Boeing is expected to make a decision around building an all-new aircraft, and Washington State will be ready for the anticipated RFP. The EDB joined Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, Tool Gauge CEO Debbie Lee, the Aerospace Futures Alliance, and fellow Associate Development Organizations from around the State and others on the Choose Washington NMA Council to collaborate and prepare.

At the Farnborough International Airshow, the EDB delegation met with 68 companies and brought home six hot leads.

At the close of 2018, the EDB had 36 active recruitment cases in the pipeline representing more than 2,500 potential new jobs in advanced manufacturing, high-tech storage and distribution, clean tech manufacturing, aerospace, precision components and distribution.

The EDB and its partners completed 141 confidential business retention visits with primary employers in Pierce County. Issues around workforce, permitting, regulations, site location, financing, and more were identified and address for these firms so they can keep growing.

Once a rare sight, building cranes have become common across Tacoma's landscape.          Photo: Morf Morford

Once a rare sight, building cranes have become common across Tacoma’s landscape. Photo: Morf Morford

Companies are in the know about Tacoma-Pierce County. 

We partnered with organizations across the State to tout the region through local and national news outlets. NewCold, Associated Materials, Ames International and companies on the EDB’s 2018 Major Employers List (including 259 major employers and 164,200 jobs) were among featured companies.

Forbes recognized the Tacoma-Lakewood area as the #10 Best Place for Business and Careers

Coverage of the Pierce County Family-wage Jobs Tax Credits went a long way to spotlight the region’s business-friendly climate.

Teamwork readership continued to exceed industry standard open rates, and we’ve seen a big uptick in EDB website traffic and social media impressions.

What’s trending

The EDB continues to field global inquiries from companies based in Canada, China, Turkey, Taiwan, Norway, Croatia, France and Germany.

For companies narrowing their site searches, an expedited timeline is everything. Streamlined permitting processes and a dedicated project team add value in the location decision equation.

Companies also continue to focus on availability of a qualified workforce. Our strong ecosystem of training and certificate programs, internships, degrees and more ensures a future pipeline of skilled workers.

To learn more, find the EDB 2018 Annual Report on our website at edbtacomapierce.org/annualreports.

– EDB