"With an incoming president, local technology leaders and investors keeping an eye on the economy"

“At right, guest columnist, Jamie Chase. Wednesday evening the contest for President of the United States concluded. As serious investors and holiday shoppers held their money waiting for the announcement of our country’s new leader and direction, stock analysts predicted the election’s end would cause a market upswing. Many business leaders and investors in Tacoma also waited for a positive sign in the market. The market’s close on Thursday did not meet analyst’s or investor expectations and George Hager of USA Today reported depressing words from market insiders.I’m not saying he’s powerless, but the economy is bigger than the president, says David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor’s DRI.The NASDAQ closed Thursday with a negative percent change of 3.34 percent. The major market indexes in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific closed averaging negative changes of 1.25 percent. In September, Richard Nafziger from the Governor’s Policy Office provided a report to the Tacoma Technology Consortium claiming Washington State has the highest number of start-up companies in the United States. The majority of these companies rely on private investments to carry their business to profitability. CEO’s and economic development leaders in Tacoma commented on the market’s affect on tech businesses and the community’s economy. Investors were throwing money into anything earlier this year, said Deshore Dickerson-Sears, CEO of eCommpack. The market and investors will continue to support good business models, he added. This period of stock revaluation and proper due diligence by investors actually works to the advantage of companies with strong products and management, he said.Traditional businesses with high-tech start-up clients have prepared for the revaluation and market affect. Our business has been doing great in the last year because we design for a large cross-section of clients, said Rusty George, owner of Rusty George Design. For every one client going through a crisis, we have two down-to-earth companies always in need of marketing materials. We learned a long time ago to diversify when it comes to pie in the sky, he said.One businessman in Tacoma pointed to the energy crisis as a more serious concern than the stock market for Tacoma.I think the current energy rates hikes will have more direct negative effect on Tacoma businesses for the short and long term than the stock market, said Scott Larsen of Bill Larson and Associates.As investors look for value investing, Tacoma’s start-ups must respond with worthy business plans and realistic revenue projections. The Pierce County Economic Index released this week reported 41 consecutive quarters of economic growth. Rest assured that businesses in Tacoma will work hard in 2001 to ensure there will be a 42nd quarter of growth.Anyone with comments, quotes or anecdotes should e-mail Jamie Chase at: jchase@contractquest.com. “