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Economic Development Office

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update

July 2007


Infinia lands $9.5 million in venture financing, forms partnership ~ ~

Photo: Stirling engines are highly reliable and long-lived. Stirling engines are highly reliable and long-lived.

Infinia Corporation, a Kennewick-based company that develops alternative energy products based on Stirling engines, recently received $9.5 million in new venture funding and announced a new partnership to provide a sustainable energy product in developing countries. Khosla Ventures of Menlo Park, California, Vulcan Capital of Seattle, EQUUS Total Return, Inc. of Houston, and Idealab of Pasadena, California joined existing investor Power Play Energy, LLC of New Canaan, Connecticut in the financing round. The deal also includes the acquisition of Stirling Cycles, a company developing Stirling engine technology, from Idealab for an undisclosed sum. Stirling engines operate without internal combustion, using a temperature differential to drive a piston and produce electricity. The new funds will support the company's sales and product development programs and business operations. Idealab CEO Bill Gross and EQUUS Vice Chair Sharon Clayton will join Infinia's board of directors. Separate from the venture deal, Infinia began partnering with Massachusetts-based Emergence BioEnergy, Inc. to provide a combined electricity and heat system that operates on methane gas from livestock manure and agricultural wastes. Emergence BioEnergy, Inc. founder Iqbal Quadir's work to launch GrameenPhone in Bangladesh was the basis for a book, "You Can Hear Me Now". Contact Jim Clyde at (509) 735-4700.

Acquisition opens door to medical isotope growth ~ ~

Photo: Medical isotopes for PET scans and other uses. Medical isotopes for PET scans and other uses.

A Kennewick firm has acquired a company that will give it access to medical isotope suppliers nationally and internationally. Advanced Medical Isotopes Corp. has purchased the Life Sciences Division of Isonics, based in Golden, Colorado, for $850,000. The acquisition supplies Advanced Medical Isotopes with a reseller agreement with two isotope suppliers in Russia via the United States Industry Coalition's Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention program. Another part of the agreement is a commercial arrangement with Central Radiopharmaceutical Services, Inc., which produces isotopes at the State University of New York in Buffalo. The Life Sciences Division of Isonics had sales of about $5 million in the past two years. With the acquisition, Advanced Medical Isotope Corp. gains production capability and commercial entry into the emerging markets for indium-111, actinium-225, and oxygen-18, as well as the four major isotopes used in positron emission tomography scans. The company also gains customers including radiopharmacies, universities, research centers, and hospitals nationwide. The company develops advanced systems and processes to bring new isotopes into the marketplace for research and treatment. Contact James Katzaroff at (509) 736-1000.

IsoRay launches physician education program~ ~

Physicians from across the United States are gaining a better understanding of how to use a Richland firm's medical isotope to treat prostate cancer. In June, IsoRay Medical, Inc. launched its first physician education training course at the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center. Radiation oncologists demonstrated techniques to their peers for properly implanting Cesium-131 "seeds" that kill cancer cells. Cesium-131 can deliver a more targeted radiation dose in a shorter time than traditional isotopes, which can reduce the chances of side effects. The training sessions connect experienced Cesium-131 users with those introducing the isotope into their practices. IsoRay's second training session, in a San Francisco hospital this fall, will be led by Dr. Steven Kurtzman, the company's Medical Director, using an advanced intraoperative planning technique. Contact Lori Woods at (206) 604-6400.

Kennewick business launches employee stock ownership plan ~ ~

graphic: Meier Logo

Employees of the architect-engineering firm MEIER Enterprises, Inc. are taking on a bigger role in the company as part of an employee stock ownership plan. Owner Terry Meier, who is retiring, will sell a majority stake of the Kennewick firm to his employees on June 12. The 52-employee company expects $5 million in revenues this year. All staff employed by April 25, 2007 are eligible to own a stake in proportion to their salaries; new employees will be eligible after a year of service. Representatives from two other local employee-owned companies, Wes Bratton from Vista Engineering and Mark Gehlen of UniWest, will join MEIER Enterprise's new board of directors. Terry Meier remains the company's chief executive and serves on the board. Contact Steve Anderson at (509) 735-1589.

More sales for Richland software firm ~ ~

photo: Respiratory Mask Online mask-fitting evaluation.

An online medical evaluation software tool that evaluates individual employees for respiratory mask fitting is gaining more traction nationwide. Bacou-Dalloz, a global safety equipment company, purchased 3,000 additional medical evaluation licenses from Richland-based OSHA MedCert in June. Bacou-Dalloz's distributors began selling OSHA MedCert's software in the United States last year. With the 6,000 licenses sold to date through Bacou-Dalloz and others, customers have saved more than $800,000, based on a savings of $148 per evaluation compared with the traditional in-person evaluation, according to OSHA MedCert. Contact LeRoy Enger at (509) 942-0175.

Lura Powell trades management for board role ~ ~

photo: Lura Powell
Lura Powell

Advanced Imaging Technologies, a Richland-based medical imaging technology firm, announced that Lura Powell is stepping down from her position as president and chief executive. In that role, she guided the firm's development of its award-winning system, ARIA, which uses holographic ultrasound technology for enhanced breast imaging. Powell left to make resources available for the next stage of the company's growth in production and market integration. She will continue to serve on the company's board of directors, helping structure the company as it enters its next phase of development. She will continue her role as chair of Washington State's Life Sciences Discovery Fund Authority Board of Trustees and as a member of the boards of directors of the Tri-City Development Council, Avista Corporation, and the Washington Technology Alliance. Contact Lura Powell at (509) 521-7074.

Tech business wins MicroBusiness of the Year award ~ ~

graphic: Devary Communications

Devary Communications received the 2007 Micro Business of the Year Award at the annual Mid-Columbia Small Business Awards Banquet in May. The Richland company, a full-service marketing, proposal, and graphics design firm, was honored for its exceptional customer service and commitment to employees and community service. The Richland-based company was nominated by CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc. Contact Candace Devary at (509) 943-4631.

SIGN expands ~ ~

photo: sign system
SIGN's bone repair implants

The Surgical Implant Generation Network has expanded its manufacturing facility at 451 Hills Street in north Richland to about 10,000 square feet from the previous 6,000. SIGN designs and manufactures bone repair implants for use in developing countries and teaches surgeons to use the devices. With the expanded space, SIGN expects to double its output to 140 nails per day by the end of the year. The nails are part of the nail-and-screw bone implant system. More than 27,000 patients at 150 hospitals in 45 countries have been treated with the SIGN system since 1999, and demand continues to increase. Last year, as an additional source of revenue, SIGN opened the 4,000-square-foot events center, called The Signature Center, adjacent to its offices. Contact Jeanne Dillner at (509) 371-1107.

Opportunities and Tools

Free technology assistance for qualifying businesses ~ ~

graphic: Briefcase

Does your business have a technical challenge or task that could benefit from the expertise available at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory? You could be eligible for a week of free technology assistance annually from PNNL scientists and engineers. Through more than 700 projects over the years, PNNL has helped businesses in sectors including information technology, instrumentation and electronics, manufacturing, medical and biotechnology, agriculture, energy, environmental protection, and consumer products. Recipients consistently give very high marks for the quality of the assistance. Technology ass istance projects for the rest of this fiscal year must be completed by the end of September 2007, so interested businesses should contact the Economic Development Office at PNNL as soon as possible. More information . . . Contact Gary Spanner at (509) 372-4296.

Business networking group seeks members ~ ~

graphic: BNI

Business Networking International, which calls itself the world's largest referral organization, recently started a Tri-Cities chapter. The group is a business-to-business networking organization that draws on individual spheres of influence to generate qualified leads. Only one member can represent a particular sector of business, limiting competition within the group. Members meet Thursdays from 11:30 am to 1 pm at the Shilo Inn in Richland. More members are being sought. Contact Dana Mundy at (509) 735-6603, or Jane Winslow at
(509) 946-5755.

Young professionals ~ ~

photo: People

The city of Richland is considering starting a Tri-Cities young professionals group for people ages 21 to 35, to help attract and retain the next generation of business leaders. Tri-Citians are invited to comment on the need for such a group at this online survey until July 6. Contact Tara Kious.

SBIR award competition ~ ~

graphic: Award Medal

July 15 is the deadline for companies or organizations involved with the Small Business Innovation Research program to nominate themselves for the ninth Tibbetts awards. These national awards are made annually to small firms, projects, organizations, and individuals judged to exemplify SBIR achievement. Criteria include economic impact of technological innovation, business achievement and effective collaborations, state and regional impact, and proven support. Awards will be presented in October. More information . . .

Private companies eligible for life sciences funds ~ ~

graphic: Life Sciences Discovery Fund

Washington State's Life Sciences Discovery Fund. The Fund will award approximately $20 million in its second grant competition, which issued its call for proposals on June 27. Letters of intent are due August 8 and proposals are due October 24. Award decisions will be made on April 8, 2008. Applicants must demonstrate how their programs will enhance life sciences competitiveness in the state, improve health and healthcare for citizens, and foster economic growth. Fund staff can help identify potential partners for grant applications. More information . . . Contact the Fund at (206) 732-6777.

Overtime calculator ~ ~

graphic: Timeclock

How much overtime should you pay your employees? Typically, covered, nonexempt employees must receive 1.5 times the employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 per week. But overtime varies for certain employees and job classifications. A new online calculator from the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division can help. It helps employers compute federally mandated overtime pay based on information submitted by the user. Overtime calculator.

Free SBIR Alerting Service ~ ~

graphic: Spir Alerting Service

Small businesses seeking federal research and development funding can subscribe to the SBIR/STTR Alerting Service. It's a free, award-winning service that provides bi-weekly notification about federal funds available through Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, as well as SBIR/STTR-related tips, conferences and events, and other information. More than 3,500 subscribers nationwide use the Alerting Service to find and apply for grant solicitations. More information . . . Subscribe to the Alerting Service, which is provided by the Economic Development Office of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Contact Richard Fowler at (509) 372-4332.

Tax newsletter for small businesses ~ ~

Small businesses and self-employed people can stay updated on tax information through a new, free newsletter from the Internal Revenue Service. "e-News for Small Business," e-mailed every Wednesday, contains tax date reminders, tax compliance tips, and tax news. Subscribe.

Sponsors sought for Boeing speaker event ~ ~

photo: 787 airplane

The Tri-City Development Council is seeking sponsors for an October 19 luncheon that features the executive responsible for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner airplane. Mike Bair is Vice President and General Manager of the Boeing 787 program and a 1974 Hanford High School graduate. Sponsors are being sought at three levels: 747 Jumbo Jet at $1,500, 787 Dreamliner at $500, and 737 Next Generation at $250. Contact Kristi Kesler at (509) 735-1000 about sponsorship. To reserve your luncheon ticket ($20 for TRIDEC members and $25 for non-members), contact Suanne Burton at (509) 735-1000.

New online ~ ~

Two new resources are online now. 1) A June Tri-City Herald article, "Tri-Cities a smart place to do business." 2) A free, downloadable video of the MIT Enterprise Forum program from January 25, 2007, "Financial Markets: Outlook 2007." In the right-hand column, click on "video podcast of the program" or "streaming video."

Coming Up

Small Business Symposium ~ ~ ~

graphic: Bridging Partnerships

AUGUST 8-9, DISCOUNT BY JULY 25. The DOE Bridging Partnerships Small Business Symposium is August 8-9 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. The symposium is designed to help small businesses meet potential government clients. It features government and business speakers, networking opportunities with government and contractor decision-makers, and breakout sessions with industry and government experts. The luncheon guest speakers will be Lee Cheatham, Executive Director of the Washington Technology Center and Khris Judy, President of Randolph Construction Services, Inc. The pre-registration fee is $50 per person until July 25 and $75 after that. Registration includes a continental breakfast, breakout sessions, lunch, bus tours of the Hanford Site, and exhibits. Download an agenda and registration form. For reservations and exhibitor information, contact Deanna Smith at (509) 735-1000.

Energy Venture Northwest in Canada ~ ~

graphic: Energy

OCTOBER 4-5, APPLY TO PRESENT BY AUGUST 1. Information and energy technology companies seeking to raise investment capital are invited to present at Banff Venture Forum in Alberta, Canada on October 4 and 5. The Banff Venture Forum brings together early-stage companies and corporate and strategic investors from North America and Canada to share perspectives on investment opportunities and to discuss critical issues facing the industry today. Apply by August 1 to present. Registrations or applications to present may be made online. Members of Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative can receive a 50% discount. Registration will close once maximum capacity has been filled. For more information on registration or sponsorship, contact Nicola Burdeniuk at (403) 267-2409.

Resources Online

Got News?

We invite your contributions! We will consider items that fit the mission of this publication, including your tech-related news, awards, and notices of upcoming events. Please send text to Andrea McMakin at or call (509) 372-6013.

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update is published by the Economic Development Office at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Each month, we send you an e-mail message, giving you the link of news, tips, awards, upcoming events, and other information about local technology-based businesses and organizations that support them. With business and community partners, our goal is to build and diversify the Tri-Cities economy—adding skilled jobs in primary-sector industries that bring in outside dollars. Currently, more than 1,100 tech-related businesses, investors, and economic development stakeholders subscribe to the newsletter, mostly in the Mid-Columbia area and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. This newsletter (RL-P00-009) supports DOE-Richland's vision for the future of the Hanford Site and surrounding area through the creation of research opportunities, new industries, and new business clusters


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