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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.

February 2008 Issue


Cheers star profiles Kennewick wheelchair manufacturer

John Ratzenberger, Made in America TV

John Ratzenberger, formerly "Cliff" from the TV show Cheers, was in the Tri-Cities in January to tape a segment about a Kennewick, Wash. manufacturing company for his current TV show, Made in America. The show will feature TiLite, which designs and manufactures the TiLite titanium ultra-light wheelchair. The chairs are custom-made using up to 16 body measurements and weigh between 15 and 23 pounds. The 150-employee company sells wheelchairs in 23 countries. The TV show, expected to run sometime in May or June on The Travel Channel, also will show the chair being tested by Chelsea McClammer of Benton City, Wash., who finished second in the 5,000-meter track competition at the National Junior Disability Championships in 2007.

Contact at (509) 545-2266 ext. 242.

IsoRay says "da" to Russian company

IsoRay Medical of Richland, Wash., recently became a 30 percent owner of Ural-Dial LLC, a new medical isotope manufacturing and distribution company based in Yekaterinburg in southwest Russia. IsoRay expects the agreement to open Russian markets for Proxcelan cesium-131 brachytherapy seeds that are used to treat prostate and other cancers. The Russian facility, expected to be completed in nine months, also will provide a gateway to ship products across Europe and Asia, reduce manufacturing costs, and ensure a steady supply of isotopes from Russian sources. Read more.

Contact at (509) 375-1202

Richland biodiesel firm "on track" for locomotive fuel

Green Diesel, Inc., an associate firm of the Tri-City & Olympia Railroad Co., has begun research and development in biodiesel production for its own locomotives. Since the summer of 2007, the Kennewick, Wash. company has invested more than $175,000 in biodiesel-refining equipment and is seeking to purchase 33 acres at the Richland Horn Rapids industrial park for the Green Diesel Biodiesel Research Facility. The land sale has been recommended by Richland's Economic Development Committee and will be considered by the Richland City Council in February. The company plans to make biodiesel from canola oil from ConAgra. The processing and use of the biodiesel are part of Green Diesel's research efforts to find the most efficient and economical blends for use in railroad equipment. Eventually, the firm will expand its biodiesel operations using a variety of feedstocks and going beyond locomotive fuel developments.

Contact at (509) 727-5360.

Educational technology firm achieves record sales

Spearheaded by its Marcraft brand, Educational Technologies Group, Inc., an educational technology company, significantly increased its U.S. educational market penetration with two flagship products for the mobile electronics and smart-home industries. The Kennewick, Wash. company's sales to U.S. public educational institutions in 2007 increased by more than 100 percent from last year. Launched two years ago, the two programs have been purchased by public high schools, community colleges, and universities in over 35 states. Customers from Mexico, Canada, and England also purchased Marcraft computer and network training equipment in 2007. ETG, founded in 2005, is a multi-million dollar developer of technical training programs in the computer, networking, smart home, telephony, and electronics sectors.

Contact at (509) 205-0396 or 1-800-441-6006.

Agreement signed for new U.S. supply of medical isotope indium-111

In January, Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation of Kennewick, Wash. signed a five-year agreement with New-York-based Central Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. for the joint production and marketing of indium-111, an isotope used in specialized diagnostic imaging. By labeling indium-111 to antibodies and peptides that transport it to specific parts of the body, physicians can image colorectal cancer, prostrate cancer, and neuroendocrine tumors. Indium-111 also can be used to label white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells for diagnostic purposes. Initial commercial quantities of indium-111 are expected in the second quarter of 2008. The company was featured in the fall 2007 issue of Mid-Columbian magazine.

Contact at (509) 736-4000.

Vista Engineering among Washington best companies to work for

In January, Kennewick-based Vista Engineering Technologies, LLC was ranked 33rd in Washington CEO Magazine's 2008 100 Best Small Companies to Work For. The Kennewick firm had 44 employees when it was nominated for the award in February 2007. Today, it has more than 70 employees, prompting an anticipated April 2008 move to the more spacious Spaulding Business Park on Columbia Park Trail in Richland, Wash. Vista Engineering provides engineering services to government and private-sector clients, with specialized expertise in geophysics, HVAC, nuclear facilities, corrosion monitoring and control, and tank/pipe leak detection.

Contact at (509) 737-1377.

IET to move headquarters to Oregon

Integrated Environmental Technologies LLC, which has developed technology that coverts waste into clean fuels and commercial products, will move its Richland, Wash. headquarters and executive staff to a 3,400-sqare-foot facility in Bend, Ore. The company will retain its Technology Center in Richland, with Chief Executive Jeff Surma splitting his time between the two offices. In a recent North Carolina Public Radio program, IET engineers vaporized a tennis shoe, leaving behind a glasslike bead and four gallons of clean gas that could be used to make alternative fuel. Read the radio transcript or hear the segment, called "Zapping trash with man-made lightening."

Contact at (509) 946-5700.

A fix for broken bones

"In the developing world, deaths and injuries from orthopedic trauma now outnumber malaria, TB and AIDS combined." Thus starts a story from American Public Media about the work of Dr. Lew Zirkle, founder of the nonprofit Surgical Implant Generation Network. The story on the Richland, Wash. company's work to design and distribute an innovative bone repair implant for developing countries aired last November on North Carolina Public Radio and is available online.

Opportunities and Tools

R&D funding available

Applications are due April 24 for Washington Technology Center's Spring 2008 Research & Technology Development funding. Approximately $1 million is awarded annually to projects that include Washington companies partnering with academic and non-profit research teams. Notices of intent are due March 20 with projects beginning July 1. Proposal materials are online. An information session will be held on Thursday, February 28 from 11 am to noon at the Applied Process Engineering Laboratory, 350 Hills Street, Suite 101 in Richland, Wash. A teleseminar will be held on Tuesday, March 4 from 10 to 11 am.

To reserve your space for either session, contact at (206) 616-3102.

Manufacturing assistance available to NIH SBIR winners

Applications are due February 14 for the National Institutes of Health's free Manufacturing Assistance Program, which is a partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. The program is aimed at helping small companies identify and overcome manufacturing issues related to the commercialization of SBIR-developed products. Companies must have won NIH Phase II Small Business Innovation Research funding from 2003 to the present. Twenty-five companies will be selected by March 2008. Program information, eligibility requirements, and application instructions are available.

Contact at (301) 435-2713.

Life sciences funding

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund has published a request for proposals for its LSDF 08-01 project competition. Letters of intent are due February 20, 2008. Approximately $6 to $8 million will be awarded in August 2008. Another request for proposals, LSDF 08-02, will be released on February 27. That competition will award $20 million in grants in December 2008. The fund supports research that can lead to improvements in health and health care and promote economic benefits for Washington's citizens. More information and a list of information sessions.

Contact the .

Grants and training available for Oregon small businesses

The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department is offering a new round of grants and training opportunities to help Oregon small businesses gain access to federal funding opportunities via Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants. Oregon firms are encouraged to apply for this program, which provides matching funds on a one-to-one basis for proposal preparation expenses. More information and downloadable application.

Contact at (503) 229-5224.

Nominations sought for Mid-Columbia Small Business Awards

Small businesses are welcome to apply for the 13th Annual Mid-Columbia Small Business of the Year Awards to be presented by the Three Rivers Alliance of Chambers on May 7. The awards are given to small businesses in Benton and Franklin Counties (fewer than 60 full-time employees, locally owned and operated, and for-profit) that demonstrate honesty, fairness, ethical business practices, and concern for employees and customers. A Micro-Business of the Year Award may also be presented for companies meeting the same criteria with fewer than ten full-time employees. The application deadline is Friday, April 4, 2008.

Nomination forms may be obtained from any local Chamber of Commerce, TRIDEC, or by contacting at (509) 967-1063.

Coming Up

Using quality to ensure a safe and healthy food supply

FEBRUARY 5, RESERVE BY FEBRUARY 4. The February 5 meeting of the American Society for Quality, Section 614, will address quality assurance in food safety. Tim Koester, a certified quality auditor, will discuss how to ensure food safety using the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point process. The meeting will be held at the Shilo Inn at 50 Comstock in Richland, Wash. The cost is $17 for ASQ members and $20 for non-members, which includes a buffet dinner and a networking/social hour beginning at 5:30 pm. Tickets to attend the presentation only are $5.

Make reservations by February 4 by contacting at (509) 373-9371 with your name, phone number, member status, and type of reservation.

SBIR seminars for tech entrepreneurs

FEBRUARY 15 and 20. The Washington Technology Center presents two seminars on Small Business Innovation Research Programs for Technology Entrepreneurs in February. One is February 15, 9 am to 1 pm at Washington State University's Vancouver, Wash. campus. The other is February 20, 7:30 am to noon at WSU's Pullman, Wash. campus. Small business owners and technology entrepreneurs will learn how SBIR funding can help them. Speakers will share tips on applying for SBIR awards, using WSU's Innovation Assessment Center, accessing technology assistance from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, using WSU researchers for collaborative projects, and securing state funds. The seminars are free, but you must register online. Registration and more information.

Contact at (509) 372-5146.

Career expo

FEBRUARY 21. Employers are invited to attend the Columbia Basin College 23rd annual Career Expo on February 21 from 8 am to 2 pm in the Byron Gjerde Center on the Pasco, Wash. campus. The expo gives CBC students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to meet with employers and community members. Employers can gather resumes and schedule interviews with potential candidates during the expo. A $50 fee for participating employers includes a continental breakfast and table setup. Early registration is encouraged.

Employers may register online or contact
at (509) 547-0511 ext. 2224.

Seminars for small businesses

The Columbia Basin College Institute for Professional Development offers the following workshops in February, from 6 to 9 pm. Fees range from $25 to $40 per class. Classes are held at 1620 North 20th Avenue in Pasco. To register, or to learn about these and other courses in the series, contact at (509) 542-4806. More information.

February 4 - Excel for Business (CBC 115)
February 5 - Immigration Informed (CBC 124)
February 7 - Legal Issues in Human Resources (CBC 124)
February 11 - Outlook for Small Business (CBC 115)
February 12 - Starting Your Business (Location to be announced)
February 25 - Marketing: Your Key to Success (CBC 124)
February 28 - Organization for Productivity and Profit (CBC 124)

Mark Your Calendar

Ethics from an ex-con

Patrick Kuhse

MARCH 19. DISCOUNTED REGISTRATION BY MARCH 12. The Tri-City Development Council, with presenting sponsor CH2M HILL, will hold the TRIDEC 44th Annual Meeting at the Pasco Red Lion from 11 am to 1:30 pm on March 19. This year's guest speaker is Patrick Kuhse, a successful stockbroker, entrepreneur, and former international fugitive imprisoned for conspiracy, money laundering, and bribing a public official. Kuhse will draw upon his experiences after four years in prison to share his unique perspective about translating common critical thinking errors into personal and professional ethical challenges and dilemmas. The cost is $35 for TRIDEC members if paid and registered by March 12 and $45 for non-members and all registrations received after March 12 or paid at the door.

Contact at (509) 735-1000.

Valuation and portfolio strategies for angel investors

APRIL 14; EARLY REGISTRATION UNTIL FEBRUARY 15. Valuation of pre-revenue companies is one of the most important issues in the angel investment process. Entrepreneurs, members of angel investing groups, and anyone interested in learning about establishing a pre-money valuation for seed and start-up companies should plan to attend a four-hour Valuation and Portfolio Strategies Workshop presented by the Washington Technology Center. The workshop will be facilitated by Bill Payne, currently a Senior Program Consultant at the Kauffman Foundation, and an active angel investor, board member, and advisor to entrepreneurs. The workshop is April 14 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Wash., from 12:30 to 5:30 pm. The cost is $75 until February 15 and $100 until March 21. Download a registration form.

Contact at (206) 616-1078.

Resources Online

EDO Resources from PNNL

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 and photos to or call (509) 371-6017.

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