The Tri-City Industrial Development Council (TRIDEC)
coordinates all local assistance to potential investors in this 2945 square
mile region of southeast Washington state. The three cities are
Kennewick, Pasco (location of the modern regional airport), and Richland
(including West Richland) in Benton and Franklin counties, with a metro area
population of nearly 200,000..
TRIDEC provides assistance to existing companies in the
county as well, which contributes to a strong local network of contacts and
practical knowledge to address a wide range of business issues. The
TRIDEC website for investors was recognized in September 2001 with a "best
in class" award by the International Economic Development Council.
Recent developments in the area include the attraction of
some major distribution operations for the Pacific Northwest region of the
US, thanks to the advantageous combinations of major
highway, rail, and waterway capabilities for logistics needs. Leading
investors in the area include Lamb Weston, Iowa Beef Processing, J.R.
Simplot, and Boise Cascade.
Research linkages of the area, such as the Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory, with over 3400 professional and technical
staff from government and industry, are also proving to be a high technology
attraction for investors to the area is some specialties, especially related
to environmental molecular sciences and other work related to the legacy of
the Hanford Site, including nuclear medicine technologies.
The region has also emerged as a successful and
increasingly well-recognized wine industry cluster, thanks to the dry
climate and water resources. The most familiar is perhaps the large
Columbia Crest winery, but there are many excellent smaller vineyards as
well. Some refer to it as "Napa the way it used to be".
Other highlights include the development of a new
environmental preserve along the "Hanford Reach" of the Columbia River, with
new eco-tourism developments in this area which is still perhaps best known
for the "Hanford Site" of the US Department of Energy. It is a unique
example of environmental restoration and preservation in the wake of nuclear
energy and weapons programs which have been discontinued at the vast Hanford
Site which occupies a large, isolated area north of the cities
The Tri-City area has attracted a high concentration
of leading engineering companies, including locally-based engineers with
project experience all over the world, because of the history of the
Hanford Site as well as the multi-billion dollar project to deal with the
closure and clean-up process, as TRIDEC staff (including engineers trained
in the nuclear industry) can readily explain to potential investors.
Given the sophisticated engineering base of the region
because of the nuclear programs, there are also international capabilities
in the workforce which one might not expect of an apparently remote region
of Washington state. There are literally thousands of employees in the
area at firms such as Fluor Hanford, Duratek, Ch2M Hill, Energy Northwest,
Bechtel, and Lockheed Martin Services. The professional nature of the
workforce is also notable in the impact on schools (expectations,
engineering programs, etc.) and the growth of the retail sector in the
region, as well as very "upscale" housing at far more affordable prices than
elsewhere in the state.
In a manner similar to regions suffering from the loss of
leading industries, or the conversion from reliance on the defense
industries during the Cold War era, the loss of the massive operations at
the Hanford Site are transforming the region from heavy reliance on one
major employer to the need for greater industry diversification.
This has contributed to a proactive, pro-business
environment throughout the area, with very responsive local authorities.
The area traditionally had a highly skilled and very highly educated
workforce in very secure jobs, with an excellent quality of life and low
cost of living relatives to other cities, so even informal "man on the
street" contacts suggest that motivated residents welcome the
diversification of their business community, knowing that they need to work
together to make it happen. The general atmosphere of teamwork to
support projects would seem to be very good, including respect and support
for the work of TRIDEC in this regard.
Investors in the area have also enjoyed incentives
and low costs, as TRIDEC can explain. There also seems to be good collaboration with leading academic
resources in the area, including the Tri-Cities campus of Washington State
University and Columbia Basin College.
Carl F. Adrian
TRIDEC : Tri-City
Industrial Development Council
901 North Colorado
(509)735-1000 or toll-free in US 1-800-TRI-CITY
Business Development Specialist - visit coordinator
Fluor Hanford consultant assigned to TRIDEC
Website : www.tridec.org
See also :
Real Estate Listings
There is no agreed working relationship nor proposal at this time between
the TRIDEC and GDI Solutions. The above presentation is intended to
serve as an example of a GUIDE Area Profile, and was not prepared with
TRIDEC. Normally, an Area Profile would be prepared in close
consultation with local representatives as the main work of this service of
GDI Solutions to become and remain familiar with developments of interest to
potential investors in the area (not just to prepare a website presentation
such as this one).
participated in a May 2002 familiarization tour of the Tri-City region along
with corporate real estate professionals and business contacts. A very
detailed presentation about the region was made available for reference, and
several days in the area with TRIDEC representatives and other local
contacts gave a fairly good overview of the region, but GDI Solutions has
not been directly involved in the support of any direct investment projects
in the region at this time. That tour of the area was used as the main
source of information for this sample Area Profile.
Relationship leader at GDI Solutions for potential
Please advise regarding any necessary corrections to this
The relationship leader is responsible for maintaining
sufficiently frequent contact and knowledge about the participating area.
not only to keep the GUIDE Area Profile useful, as in this example, but also to serve as an initial point
of contact for any investors who may choose not to contact the local area
representatives yet about their interests, such as at a very exploratory or
confidential stage of project planning or information-gathering, or for