Business & City Leaders Meet with Economic Development Expert

Matt Bott

Chamber & City Leaders Gather for Brown Bag Lunch with Business Recruitment Expert
Community working to Improve Business Recruitment and Retention Competitiveness

Business and City leaders gathered together last Friday to meet with a business recruitment and site selection expert to learn more about trends and best practices in key areas of economic development, business recruitment and retention and site selection competitiveness.

The featured speaker was Raymond Gonzales, former head of Brighton Colorado’s Economic Development Corporation as well as a Deputy Cabinet Secretary under former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson where he worked in the area of workforce/economic development.

“We appreciate the opportunity to hear from outside experts on these important topics, to make sure we are preparing ourselves for continued strength in our economic development practices and business outreach strategies” said Matthew Bott, CEO of the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

Particular focus was placed on the importance of a strong series of web portals to provide site selectors with easy access to available data on workforce, commute times, school systems, amenities and available commercial property stock. Additional discussion focused on the importance of collaboration, messaging, consistent and predictable market entry experiences for businesses and more.  

“Issaquah is doing everything you are supposed to be doing in gathering the community stakeholders to develop and work your economic development plan” added Gonzales at the close of the meeting.

Gonzales, in various remarks during the discussion, was also pleased to hear about the extensive business outreach and survey project being led by the City and the Commission, with the support of the Chamber, as well as the SWOT analysis.

Other members offered similar comments about the opportunities ahead for Issaquah.

"Mr. Gonzales' experience at Brighton and its similar growth issues provided many examples we can use for attracting and retaining business to Issaquah...he shared a wealth of information" added Eric Boettcher of Applied Imagination Media.

"It appears we are doing a lot of the right things here in Issaquah. The Economic Development Department is hitting on the top actions recommended by Raymond along with the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. It seems the next step is for greater integration of the city, chamber and other public and private groups efforts to support economic growth in the area" said Dick Gabel of Meadow Creek Business Center and Issaquah's new co-working space, The White Board.  Gabel is also a member of the Issaquah Chamber Board and the City's Economic Development Commission. 

Longtime Issaquah commercial property broker Kelly Richardson offered comments about 'vision and partnership' in stating  that "one of the most powerful affirmations that came from the discussion is that when we have a vision with a clear direction and work together collectively to achieve that end, great things happen for our community. Businesses will make a decision to locate or stay in a community that’s one force and that shares a simple message, not layers of data or information sources. We all need to speak the same language and share the same message, whether it be the Chamber, City, local non-profits, business or even our local non-profits.”

The City’s Economic Development Office, Chamber and the Economic Development Commission are continuing their work and partnership to support a strong local economy and to ensure Issaquah remains attractive to new employers.
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Added on 11/12/2012

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