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Tri-Cities Tech Business Update

This monthly e-mailed update contains news, opportunities, upcoming events, and other information about Mid-Columbia tech businesses and the organizations that support them. Subscribe here.

December 2007


Lockheed Martin lands multi-million-dollar contracts, adds IT jobs

Lockheed Martin logo

The Tri-Cities office of Lockheed Martin received three contracts, one of which will add at least 30 information technology jobs locally. In 2006, Lockheed Martin was one of a team of contractors that won a $447 million Army Corps of Engineers Information Management/Information Technology contract. Lockheed Martin plans to hire 30 more information technology specialists for the work, which will help the Corps enhance its communications and response during emergency situations across the United States, as well as upgrading various support services. The project is expected to last seven to ten years. Preliminary due diligence has started; the project is expected to get underway by next May. In November, Lockheed Martin received two additional contracts. Under a five-year, $18 million contract with Energy Trust of Oregon and a $9 million contract with Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Lockheed Martin will manage energy efficiency programs for commercial and industrial customers. For the Energy Trust contract, Lockheed Martin will coordinate financial incentives and cultivate relationships with energy efficiency services distributors, contractors, and manufacturers throughout Oregon as part of its Existing Buildings program, which focuses on achieving electric and gas energy-saving goals. Lockheed Martin also will provide marketing, customer recruitment, contractor management, and technical services.

Contact at (509) 373-3843.

Richland engineering company to be acquired


Polestar Applied Technology, Inc., with an office in Richland, Wash., has agreed to be purchased for $11 million by WorleyParsons Group, Inc. of Houston, Tex., whose parent is Sydney-based WorleyParsons. The deal, in which Polestar will be a wholly- owned subsidiary of WorleyParsons, is expected to be completed by December pending regulatory approval. Polestar, headquartered in Los Altos, Calif., provides project management and technical services for nuclear power and environmental projects for government and commercial customers worldwide. WorleyParsons, a public company with 24,000 staff in 32 countries, provides professional services to the energy, resource, and process industries worldwide. The acquisition will give Polestar more access to WorleyParsons' commercial markets while adding capabilities to the Australian firm's service portfolio. The 40-employee Richland office of Polestar, which will keep its name, expects to grow its business and add jobs as necessary.

Contact at (509) 946-8279.

Western Sintering is hot

Western Sintering Company

Western Sintering Company, Inc., a Richland, Wash. powdered metal manufacturing firm, continues to grow with executive changes and new customers. Former Vice President Jeff Wood was named President on November 1. He also continues to serve on the company's Board of Directors. Former President Mike Rector now serves as Vice President at a reduced-hour schedule. Rector, with the company since 1971, is the nephew of John Rector, who founded the business in 1965. Former Press Operations Manager Dave Morasch recently was named Product Development Manager; he will manage sales and product development. One of the company's newest products is knife handles for Buck Knives of Post Falls, Idaho, which makes hunting and other sheath knives.

Contact at (509) 375-3096, ext. 20.

PocketiNet Communications deploys high-capacity wireless network backbone


PocketiNet Communications, a wireless Internet service provider, has added broadband capacity to its network infrastructure that will increase capacity, speed, and service for its customers in the Tri-Cities, Wash. and other parts of the Mid-Columbia area. The company installed Trango Broadband Wireless's 18 GHz point-to-point licensed microwave system, TrangoLINK-GIga™, as its primary network backbone to one of its primary distribution sites in Richland, Wash. The new system, which makes Internet connections faster and can handle more network traffic, increases network capacity by over 600 percent. PocketiNet is headquartered in Walla Walla, Wash with offices in Kennewick, Wash.

Contact at (509) 526-5026.

Port of Benton receives top state honor

Port of Benton

The Port of Benton has earned the Port of the Year award for 2007 from the Washington Public Ports Association. The Port was honored for its economic development work, including its work to establish the Tri-Cities Innovation Partnership Zone in north Richland and an innovative biomass gasification project to turn agricultural waste into heat and energy.

Contact at (509) 375-3060.

Opportunities and Tools

Exhibitors invited for TRIDEC Economic Outlook Forum

Economic Outlook Forum

The Tri-City Development Council is seeking exhibitors for the 9th Annual Tri-Cities Regional Economic Outlook Forum on January 23 at the TRAC facility in Pasco, Wash. The forum brings together nationally renowned economists and regional experts for a comprehensive economic forecast for our area. The exhibitor registration fee is $100 and includes two entry badges, breakfast and lunch, and all forum materials on CD. Individual badges are $50 per person. Booths are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis; electricity is an additional $50. Exhibitors may register up until three days before the event. Go to the exhibitor registration form.

Contact at (509) 735-1000.

Making the pitch


An article on "Five steps to a strong pitch to prospective investors," which appeared in the Tri-City Herald on November 25, is online now. The article contains tips from the Alliance of Angels in Seattle on pitching your business to seek investor capital in ten minutes or less.

Doing business in Washington

Access Washington logo

Want to know the prevailing wage rates for the types of employees your company hires? How about finding business opportunities with Washington state government? Do you know which tax incentives apply to your business? Find this information and more on the "Doing Business in Washington" Website. The site was recently honored as an "outstanding achievement in the field of information technology in state government" and one of the nation's top "government to business" digital government initiatives by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

Scholarships for high-school sophomores

Energy Solutions logo

The EnergySolutions Foundation will award $2,000 scholarships toward a bachelor's degree in math, engineering, or several branches of science. Tenth graders at Tri-City area high schools are eligible. Last year, EnergySolutions awarded nine scholarships. Winners may also compete nationwide for scholarships of up to $25,000. Applications are due January 31. Last year, Washington was the only state that had a scholarship recipient from every eligible high school. Get the application.

Contact at (801) 649-2286.

Coming Up

Biofuels summit

DECEMBER 5-7. The Western States Biofuels Association is holding its second annual Biofuels Industry Summit December 5-7, 2007, at Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco, Wash. Participants will participate in panel discussions, attend all of the 30 general sessions, and browse a biofuel-focused trade show. The summit will cover the issues, challenges, and opportunities for biofuels at all stages of the production chain, from farm suppliers and commodity producers to researchers, refiners, and distributors. Featured speaker David Blume is the Executive Director of the International Institute for Ecological Agriculture. Get more information and register.

Bioenergy, agriculture focus of economic development conference

Food and Energy photo

DECEMBER 6 AND 7; REGISTER BY DECEMBER 3. The Washington State University School of Economic Sciences will hold its first annual Economic Issues and Outlook Conference on December 6-7 at the Red Lion Hotel in Pasco, Wash. A panel of well-known speakers will discuss Washington State's economic development and future in bioenergy and agriculture, including economic, health, and transportation issues. Business leaders, agricultural producers, economists, and energy professionals are encouraged to attend. Registration is $150. The registration fee includes all sessions, lunch and dinner, social hour, and a copy of the conference proceedings on CD. Register online. Contact at (509) 335-5555.

Financial topics for businesses


DECEMBER 11, REGISTER BY DECEMBER 4. Michael McLean, a California-based entrepreneur with 30 years of business experience, including 15 successful business turnarounds as well as executive roles, is the featured speaker at a business seminar on December 11. The seminar, presented by the Washington Tri-Cities Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, is at the Clarion Hotel, 1515 George Washington Way, Richland, Wash., from 7 am to 4:30 pm. "Creating a Business Plan," from 8 to 10:20 am, is a hands-on lab that uses an Excel-based freeware program for creating business plan financials. "Valuing a Business," from 10:20 am to noon, describes the most common valuation measures and how they are used. "Hot Topics in Accounting," from 1 to 4:30 pm, includes financial statement analysis and management reporting, reviewing statements from your outside accounting firm, and new auditing standards. Up to eight hours of continuing professional education credits are available. Register by December 4. Institute of Management Accountants members pay $200; nonmembers pay $250. A half day with lunch is $150 for members and $200 for non-members. To register, contact at (509) 376-4673.

Database mining for tech businesses


DECEMBER 13. The Food for Thought entrepreneur brown bag lunch series at the Applied Process Engineering Laboratory continues on December 13 with Karen Buxton of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Hanford Technical Library demonstrating how to search across three premium databases to find scientific and technical literature in your field. Learn to use simple and powerful database features to sharpen your searches so that you find just the information you need. The topic is designed for researchers and technology businesses and is open to the public. This free series is from noon to 1 pm at the APEL conference room, 350 Hills Street, Richland, Wash. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunch. Seating is limited; please register to streamline the security log-in process by contacting at (509) 372-5146.

Seminars for small businesses

The Columbia Basin College Small Business Development Center offers the following workshops in August, from 6 to 9 pm. Fees range from $25 to $40, with a $10 late fee if you pay fewer than 48 hours before the scheduled course date. Classes are held at CBC in Pasco, or as noted below. To register, or to learn about these and other courses in the series, contact at (509) 547-0511, ext. 3138. More information.

December 3 - QuickBooks Intro (CBC, W-165)
December 10 - QuickBooks Pro I (CBC, W-165)
December 11 - Starting a Business: Questions You Were Afraid to Ask (1600 North 20th Ave, Suite A)
December 17 - QuickBooks Pro II (CBC, W-165)

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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