Spokane Journal of Business

Economic-development leaders to meet on goals

Organizers hope workshop will boost understanding, cooperation among groups

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Leaders of Spokane-area economic-development groups plan to meet this month to compare goals and look at ways the groups might cooperate.


Were pulling together key organizations involved in economic development to see what everyone is doing and how we might leverage our resources, says JoAnn Ficca, president-elect of Focus 21, the economic-development group that succeeded Momentum.


Ficca is one of several organizers planning a meeting April 18 to which leaders of 10 economic-development organizations here have been invited. She credits JoAnn Matthiesen, chairwoman of the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce, as the catalyst for the efforts.


Matthiesen proposed bringing together leaders of the Spokane Area and Spokane Valley chambers of commerce, the International Trade Alliance, Downtown Spokane Partnership, Spokane Area Economic Development Council, SymposiumSeries, Technet, the Spokane Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inland Northwest Technology Council, and Focus 21, to discuss the goals and plans of their organizations.


Im hoping for an open and frank discussion on the few vital things this area must do to enhance and preserve quality of life and the health of the community where we can grow our companies and raise our families, Matthiesen says.


The discussion might uncover duplicated efforts or find new opportunities in aspects of economic development, but most importantly, it will offer the various organizations the chance to make sure they are working together in understanding, she says.


Matthiesen says people see gaps in the economic-development efforts here, and thats why new groups, such as the SymposiumSeries, have been formed.


It would hurt the community to be divisive, to choose one group over another, Matthiesen says. One group cant do it all, but we can align our efforts. We all want the same end result.


Both Matthiesen and Ficca say economic-development organizations here largely have worked independently, although some of the same people are involved in more than one group. Working together to use the communitys resources is particularly important now as the West Side of the state booms and growth is slow here, Ficca says.

  • Anita Burke

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