Thank you to the 600 attendees who celebrated with the Regional Chamber at the 2023 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, March 22 at the Three Rivers Convention Center.
Thanks to Breshears Professional Photography for snapping these wonderful photos!
Luncheon & Program Gallery
VIP Reception Gallery
Business Expo Gallery
Thank you to the 600 attendees who celebrated with the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce (TCRCC) at the 2023 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, March 22 at the Three Rivers Convention Center.
The Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon is a celebration of the accomplishments of TCRCC and its members. Click on the awards below to learn about the winners and why they were selected.
Click the award categories below to learn more about this year's recipients.
cHAMBER S.T.A.R. AWARD - RYAN WELD, TIRE FACTORY
The Chamber S.T.A.R. Award is presented to a volunteer who goes above and beyond for the Chamber. S.T.A.R. is an acronym for Service, Time, Attitude, Reliability.
Ryan serves on the Executive Committee of the TCRCC Board of Directors. He also was the first to raise his hand to participate in the inaugural Tri-Cities Regional Career Signing Day - agreeing to offer graduating high school seniors a full-time job, benefits, and the promise of training and mentoring so they had the best chance at success. Not only that, but Tire Factory was the first business to invest in TCRCC's Stakeholder level of membership - the highest tier.
cOMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD - BENTON COUNTY
The Community Impact Award is presented to the non-profit organization or government entity that provided the Chamber with the most financial support over the previous year.
This year's Community Impact Award went to Benton County. Last year, Benton County partnered with TCRCC to launch the Business Resource Initiative program (BRI). Through BRI, TCRCC disperse a total of $3 million in grant funds to Benton County businesses that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CORPORATE IMPACT AWARD - WASHINGTON RIVER PROTECTION SOLUTIONS
Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) is a Stakeholder-level member of TCRCC – that’s the highest level possible. They are also the sponsor of the Small Business Incentive Program, which annually provides $30,000 in grant funds to small businesses in the Tri-Cities.
For the past 11 years, WRPS has been the premier sponsor of the Tri-Cities Women in Business Conference, Eastern Washington’s largest career and professional development event for women. WRPS also sponsors the Meet the Buyer program – which supports the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).
non-profit on a roll award - HEARTLINKS HOSPICE
New for 2023, the Non-Profit on a Roll Award recognizes a non-profit organization that achieved great success during 2022 while positively impacting the community.
The mission of Heartlinks Hospice and Palliative Care is to enrich the quality of one’s life and recognize its worth by providing comfort, care, and support on life’s journey. They experienced success last year, but more importantly they received numerous industry awards and recognition for their compassionate and comprehensive end-of-life care.
BUSINESS ON A ROLL AWARD (1-10 EMPLOYEES) - IT HAVEN
The Business on a Roll Awards recognize TCRCC members that achieved significant success over the previous year. Criteria includes revenue, sales, employee growth, awards, and community involvement.
The Business on a Roll Award for a business with 1-10 employees went to IT Haven. IT Haven was selected due to their impressive growth in revenue, clients, and staff size. They are also committed to helping local non-profits, such as United Way and Therapeutic Riding of Tri-Cities.
BUSINESS ON A ROLL AWARD (11-50 EMPLOYEES) - MEIER ARCHITECTURE ENGINEERING
The Business on a Roll Award (11-50 Employees) went to Meier Architecture Engineering due to their tremendous growth in revenue in 2022. The TCRCC Awards and Recognition Committee was impressed by their staggering list of community involvement, including charity work with the Union Gospel Mission, Red Cross, and Senior Life Resources. Additionally, Meier has done design and planning work to improve the neighborhood where they’re located: historic Downtown Kennewick.
BUSINESS ON A ROLL AWARD (OVER 50 EMPLOYEES) - PRIME DENTAL
(left to right) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Executive Director of Communications and External Engagement Jaime Shimek, Prime Dental Co-Owner Dr. Jason Madsen, Prime Dental Co-Owner Paul Madsen, Prime Dental Co-Owner Dr. Michael Maxfield, Prime Dental Co-Owner Dr. Wesley Karlson, and 2023 TCRCC Board Chair Jim Arneson
The Business on a Roll Award (Over 50 Employees) went to Prime Dental. They have been operating in the Tri-Cities for 40 years, first in West Richland, and in 2022 they opened a new branch in Pasco. Their organization operates on the philosophy of removing barriers for patients and granting access to quality, affordable dentistry.
Prime Dental saw so many new patients in 2022 that they were invited to speak at a dental marketing convention in Las Vegas to outline their growth strategy.
Their community involvement includes school sponsorships, volunteer work, and a free dental day for those who can’t afford dental services.
Congratulations to Kindred Spirits on their ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, March 15. Check out their shop at 430 George Washington Way in Richland.
Thank you to everyone who attended Business After Hours at Jacobs and Rhodes on March 9!
Need workers? We can help!
If you are an employer in the trade/technical or tourism and hospitality industry, we can help you build your workforce! Next month, there will be a plethora of Class of '23 high school seniors from throughout the region searching to find a workplace to call home and contribute to our local economy. Many of these students will have received skills, training, and certifications to fill entry-level positions within your organization. Others are eager and motivated to learn and grow as a trainee, all bringing potentially new and innovative ways to contribute to your company’s overall success. Often, high school seniors who are college/military bound receive praise in ceremonies to recognize their accomplishments. We believe it is valuable to support all pathways that lead to the success of our local workforce and economy, so we want to shine a light on these students who will fill entry-level positions and the employers willing to take a chance on them!
After a successful pilot in 2022, four local companies were matched with desirable student candidates, ultimately, hiring ten area students that continue to work for and contribute to the success of their organizations. Let’s keep this growing!
On June 22, 2023, the Tri-City Regional Chamber, and our partners, Inland Northwest General Contractors, and the ESD123, will host the second annual Tri-Cities Regional Career Signing Day event, which will take place at Tri-Tech Skills Center. Signing Day Employer participants will have the opportunity to meet with desirable student candidates and provide on-site interviews before the Signing Day event. Finally, once student candidate finalists have been selected, the employer and candidate finalists will join to be recognized publicly by local educators, parents, community members, elected officials, and potentially news media as the shining stars who contribute to our local workforce and economy.
For more information or to learn how to participate as a Signing Day Employer Participant, please contact the Chamber’s Workforce and Education Manager, Brooke Myrland, at 509-491-3242 or email at email@example.com.
Sen. Matt Boehnke, Rep. April Connors, and Rep. Stephanie Barnard, will host a town hall meeting at The Arc of the Tri-Cities (1455 SE Fowler St. Richland, WA 99352) on Saturday, March 11, from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
The 8th District legislative team will answer questions and provide constituents with an update on the 2023 legislative session.
Bills of Note Moving To Opposite Chambers
As the deadline approaches for the last day to consider bills in their house of origin we've seen several notable bills reach their final vote and pave the way for introduction in the opposite chamber for consideration. At this midpoint of the 105-day session Friday, February 24, 2023 was the final day to move bills out of fiscal committees and on to the floor. This session has garnered bipartisan support for workforce and education, with several bills meant to expand knowledge and access to statewide career training and development. Additional information is included below on specific measures within various topic areas.
Workforce, Apprenticeships and Education
Wide bipartisan support continues to be championed for workforce development in both chambers of the State Legislature. With wide support and application of three programs West of the Cascades and another three programs East of the Cascades SHB 1013 - Establishing Regional Apprenticeship Programs continues on to the Senate. If it moves forward, the bill would direct the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Educational Service Districts to establish Regional Apprenticeship Preparation Pilot Program with six program sites statewide.
Senate Bill 5617 has passed the Senate and moved on to the House of Representatives allowing for greater equivalency of programs between school districts and skill centers, requiring any course equivalencies approved by OSPI to be honored by other participating school districts. The bill would also require schools to notify enrolled student's parents from 8th through 12th grade about what opportunities exist for students to meet credit-based graduation requirements through regional skill centers.
HB 1216 has moved out of fiscal committees and is pending a floor vote by the February 8, 2023 deadline. The Clean Energy Siting bill considered in the House would create an Interagency Clean Energy Siting Coordinating Council chaired by the Department of Ecology and Department of Commerce. The proposed process identifies a more comprehensive process for siting of significant clean energy projects; however, the stalled companion Senate Bill and the introduced House Bill have eliminated language that would have required projects to demonstrate need and/or utility for the type and scale of the installation.
Development and Housing
Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1293 has passed the House of Representatives with minor opposition paving the way to exempt residential development from additional State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review under certain conditions where sited within an Urban Growth Area. This would largely apply to all housing development within City limits across the Tri-Cities, and exempt further environmental review where the proposed residential development is otherwise compliant with all existing development regulations, the City or County within the Urban Growth Area has previously had its comprehensive plan subjected to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), such plan fully addresses transportation impacts, and the proposed development is located where there are not existing or anticipated transportation safety or operational deficiencies.
House Bill 1258 has already advanced to the Senate for consideration to increase funding to the Statewide Tourism Marketing Account and reducing requisite match requirements for eligible entities. This proposal increases the cap from $3M to $9M for revenues able to be accumulated on the tax of retail sales on lodging, car rentals and restaurants (without raising said tax), and reduces the match to access funding from 2-to-1 to 1-to-1.
Thank you to everyone who attended the relaunch of the Ask the Experts program on February 28 - both in-person and virtually. If you weren't able to attend, you can view the session on our YouTube channel.
Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce Hires Miles Thomas as Government and Regional Affairs Director
The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce (TCRCC) has hired Miles Thomas, AICP, as the organization’s Government and Regional Affairs Director. In this position, Thomas will lead the Regional Chamber’s advocacy efforts, the myTRI 2030 Regional Vision Project, and much more.
Thomas brings more than a decade of experience in community and economic development to his new position. Within the Tri-Cities, Thomas has extensive policy advocacy and project planning experience through Economic Development roles in City and Port governance. His work has contributed to collaboratively funding workforce development and reskilling programs at Washington State University Tri-Cities, designation and promotion of federal Opportunity Zones, and expanding access to local business development and assistance programs.
“We’re thrilled to add Miles to the Regional Chamber team,” said TCRCC President and CEO Lori Mattson, IOM. “Miles’ experience in bringing private and public partnerships to fruition, building strong community and business relationships, and working to augment public policy that supports and inspires entrepreneurship make him the ideal Government and Regional Affairs Director for the Tri-City Regional Chamber.”
Thomas currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council and Sagebrush Montessori School in addition to committee roles for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Washington State Small Business Development Center Advisory Board. He is an alumnus of the University of Illinois and holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning.
Thomas can be reached at 509.940.4004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.