Team Pierce County lands at Paris Air Show

The 53rd International Paris Air Show was held June 17-21, 2019, and Team Pierce County is back home with dozens of leads that will be worked over the months ahead.

Joining the delegation led by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Pierce County team included: Jason Whalen, EDB chair, City of Lakewood deputy mayor and partner, Ledger Square Law; Dave Morrell, Pierce County Council member; Lisa Goodman, The Benaroya Company marketing director and EDB board member; Betty Capestany, Pierce County Economic Development Department director; and Bruce Kendall, EDB president and CEO.

Leads, leads, leads

Pierce County delegates met with more than 60 companies from Europe, Asia, America and South America, representing 6 business retention cases and 55 recruitment cases. The group came away with 11 “hot leads” and 35 “warm leads.” Now the work continues as the EDB and its partners ensure companies receive follow-up information about available sites, workforce pipeline and incentives.

“It was critically important for the EDB and its partners to be part of the Washington State team, especially considering the huge role Pierce County plays in the state’s aerospace industry,” EDB Chair Jason Whalen said. “If we’re not at the table, then we lose opportunities.”

Paris by the numbers

The International Paris Air Show is the largest and longest-running aerospace trade show in the world, established in 1909 and held every odd-numbered year since 1949.

“The importance of air shows can’t be overstated,” Bruce Kendall said. “They provide the highest concentration of aerospace companies on the planet and are a terrific chance to build lasting relationships that can lead to companies investing in Tacoma-Pierce County.”

The aggregate numbers from this year’s air show speak volumes:

2,453 exhibitors from 49 countries

$140 billion worth of contracts signed

316,470 visitors

276 official delegations from 98 countries and 7 international organizations

140 aircraft on display

2,700 accredited journalists from 87 countries

Aircraft production in 2018 Image courtesy Washington State Department of Commerce
Aircraft production in 2018
Image courtesy Washington State Department of Commerce

Other highlights of the weeklong air show included:

Big order for Boeing. Day 3 brought the announcement that Boeing landed a letter of intent for 200 737 Max jets from the International Airlines Group (AIG). Amazon also put in its order for 15 more Boeing 757s for its fleet.

Top players duked it out. Airbus had firm orders, letters of intent and memorandums of understanding for 595 airplanes, while Boeing had orders for 234 planes. Overall, 938 planes were ordered over the course of the air show.

Tech took center stage. Big themes were personal personal technology, electric aircraft innovation, artificial intelligence, and the convergence of aerospace, medical devices, automotive and rail technologies. A “SpaceTrain” prototype, still under development, is designed to travel 700 miles per hour on a single track between cities. Imagine a future where you can commute between Tacoma and Spokane in a half-hour.

In the bag: IDRB funding to help SeaTac Packaging expand 

Since 1994, SeaTac Packaging has provided its customers with bags for transporting food, animal feed, seeds, cement mix and more. Now, thanks to a $10 million Industrial Development Revenue Bond (IDRB), the Puyallup-based company will expand its operations, implement state-of-the-art processes and bring more jobs to Pierce County.

SeaTac Packaging employs 100 workers, and sells its innovative products across the U.S., Canada and the Americas. In 2014, a boost in growth lead the company to the Economic Development Corporation of Pierce County (EDCPC), staffed by the EDB. The public corporation issues tax-free bonds for projects anywhere in Pierce County. The federal IDRB program offers below-market financing for qualified manufacturing or processing projects. SeaTac Packaging has completed multiple bonds through the EDCPC over the years.

On the EDCPC’s recommendation, the Pierce County Council approved the IDR bond July 2. No public money backs the bond; the borrower is fully liable for repayment and must obtaining private backing.

The bond will be used to finance a portion of SeaTac Packaging’s new 102,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility slated to open soon in the Frederickson Industrial Area. SeaTac Packaging’s multi-million-dollar investment to fund the expansion created around 100 construction-related jobs and will mean 50 new permanent jobs for the company.

“The IDRB financing makes it possible for us to invest in new capital equipment that will make our operations even more efficient,” said SeaTac Packaging President David Huang. “It will also allow us to begin commercial printing, using water-based, food-safe processes that are safe for the environment.”

Moving the bond funding to fruition truly did take a village. The IDRB funding team included bond attorneys from K&L Gates, representatives from Banner Bank, local elected officials, EDCPC board members, legislative analysts, developers, real estate brokers and fellow economic developers.

For businesses looking to build or expand their manufacturing or processing facilities, IDRB funding may be a good option. To learn more, contact Jacqueline Bellwoar, EDB economic development manager, at or 253.284.5889.

Welcome aboard: Jacqueline Bellwoar named EDB economic development manager

The EDB is pleased to welcome Jacqueline Bellwoar, our new economic development manager. In her new role, Bellwoar will manage the EDB’s cluster acceleration teams, comprised of industry and community leaders from across the South Sound. She will help implement strategies developed by the teams, research target industries and firms, and assist with staffing for the Economic Development Corporation of Pierce County.

Bellwoar brings to the EDB a diverse mix of economic development and private sector experience. Previously, she was business development specialist with the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Department in Athens, Georgia. She also has wide-ranging experience in the health care and manufacturing sectors, and has worked on multi-million dollar renovation projects with major hospitals, universities, governments and manufacturing plants. She was most recently account executive with Alliance Packaging in Renton.

“I’m thrilled to join the EDB and be back in the economic development arena,” Bellwoar said. “With all that’s happening in Pierce County, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

You may reach Bellwoar at or 253.284.5889.

– Originally printed in the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County newsletter

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