Community Economic Revitalization Board invests $4.9 million in nine counties

Two of largest projects include private partner investments of $120 million by Sunnyside Community Hospital Association for new hospital construction and $10 million by KW Partners/FedEx at Port of Everett.

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) today approved $4,956,250 in grants and low-interest loans for public infrastructure development and economic feasibility studies in nine counties across the state. The projects target business growth and job creation in Chelan, Clallam, Cowlitz, Grant, Lewis, Lincoln, Snohomish, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties.

Two of the largest projects – Sunnyside Community Hospital and Riverside Business Park at the Port of Everett – bring $130 million in committed private partner investment. A third big construction project at the Port of Chehalis, estimates $30 million will be invested there.

Chelan County – $50,000 grant to the Port of Chelan County for a feasibility study to assess and create an inventory of land and buildings in Chelan County, zoned for various types of industrial and commercial development. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Clallam County – $50,000 grant to the City of Sequim for the Bell Creek Economic Opportunity Area Plan. This is a “subarea plan” to include site analysis, market analysis, and direction for future development within the Bell Creek Economic Opportunity Area (EOA). CERB funds are matched by $17,000 in local resources.

Cowlitz County – $50,000 grant to the Port of Woodland for a feasibility study and market analysis to determine the practicality of constructing dark fiber infrastructure for two routes independently, the return on investment in infrastructure, and the market needs based on the rural makeup of the routes. CERB funds are matched by $25,000 in local resources.

Grant County – $50,000 grant to the City of Soap Lake for the Mineral Water System Plan. This is a feasibility study to assess the capital facilities in the water system, prepare cost estimates for proposed upgrades, develop a debt and revenue impact analysis and provide an assessment of environmental impacts and permitting. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Lewis County – $665,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to the Port of Chehalis for the Pinnacle Construction Project. This prospective development consists of site preparation to include construction of earthwork, roads, underground utilities (water, sanitary sewer, electricity, telecommunications) and storm water management, which will result in a nine-acre building pad. The port estimates that 234 jobs will be created and $30 million will be invested as a result of this project. CERB funds are matched by $1.4 million in local resources.

Lincoln County – $50,000 grant to the county for a feasibility study for a highest and best use analysis of the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Snohomish County – $1.85 million loan to the Port of Everett for the Riverside Business Park Improvements construction project. This committed private partner project consists of a connecting road, upgraded fire flow and re-route and installation of power, water, sewer and storm water utilities. Partners KW Projects/FedEx, will invest $10 million, resulting in 50 jobs retained and 49 new jobs created. CERB funds are matched by $1,096,000 in local resources.

Walla Walla County – $50,000 grant to the City of College Place for the Central College Place Planning Study. This is a feasibility study for a site appropriateness survey, a location analysis, a marketing strategy and a preliminary infrastructure analysis to determine if the 10-acre site is appropriate for light industrial use. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Yakima County – $2 million loan to the City of Sunnyside for the Sunnyside Community Hospital construction project. This committed private partner project consists of construction of domestic water, fire protection, sanitary sewer and transportation improvements to the new hospital site. Partner Sunnyside Community Hospital Association will invest $120 million, retaining 523 jobs and creating 32 new jobs as a result of this project. CERB funds are matched by $1 million in local resources.

Yakima County – $41,250 grant to the Port of Sunnyside for a feasibility study that will include an infrastructure analysis, conceptual site plan, economic feasibility study, marketing study and wage analysis for the Miles Smith Property. CERB funds are matched by $13,750 in local resources.

“These projects represent the range of projects that CERB funds — projects that lead to job growth across the state through infrastructure development and planning,” said CERB Chair David Rhoden. “The board is pleased to collaborate with each of these communities as they work to create permanent private-sector jobs.”

“Washington’s economy was the fastest growing in the nation last year, yet we know that many parts of our state are not full participants in that prosperity,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Attractive financing tools provided by CERB are essential to strengthening rural communities and a good investment in our shared economic future.”

The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.
Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $163 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 35,000 jobs, and private capital investments of a $5.6 billion ($34 to $1) return on CERB investment.

As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private-sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects. Learn more about CERB at


Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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$7 million in state Clean Energy Fund grants advance microgrid projects at Avista, SnoPUD

Innovative utilities investing in highly flexible, resilient, efficient electricity grid for the future

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Department of Commerce has finalized grants totaling $7 million with two Washington state utilities to further their innovative work on electricity “microgrid” projects. Spokane-based private utility Avista, and the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD), each were awarded $3.5 million from the Washington Clean Energy Fund.

Their projects, and several others making their way through the grant contract process, represent the next important phase in modernizing our nation’s electric system to meet demand for more efficient, resilient and flexible power management and delivery. Industry experts, engineers and investors are watching closely Washington’s Clean Energy Fund research and development projects. These real-world implementations of some of the first significant new concepts and technologies in a generation will illuminate potential uses, service models and economic benefits for people and communities all over the world.

“Washington is a state of leaders who share a vision of sustainable growth and prosperity inherent in the low-carbon economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “I applaud our utilities and their partners for investing in these innovative projects that will secure our energy future.”

Creating a “shared energy economy”

Avista (NYSE: AVA)  will pilot a “Shared Energy Economy” model that allows various energy assets — from solar panels and battery storage to traditional utility assets — to be shared and used for multiple purposes, including system efficiency and grid resiliency. By doing this, benefits to both the consumer and utility can be demonstrated.

One aspect of the Avista project includes exploring energy sharing among buildings. For example, rooftop solar panels and battery storage units would be installed on two buildings. These buildings could be connected to a building energy management system that could automatically sense which building needs power and which building has sufficient power to share its solar or stored battery power. Since Avista can also tap into this system, the addition of shared assets allows the utility to better use the existing resources. Ultimately, the consumer and utility both benefit in this Shared Energy Economy model.

“Creating a ‘Shared Energy Economy’ model is the latest example of Avista’s 128-year history of innovation. In a ‘sharing economy’ resources are shared, allowing customers to access goods without ownership. For example, if you rent a Zipcar, you can pay to use a car when you need it, instead of owning a personal car. We are excited to explore this concept as it relates to energy,” said Heather Rosentrater, Avista vice president of energy delivery. “We know that the energy landscape will continue to change, and as a utility, we need to ensure our system will be flexible enough to meet the changing expectations and future needs of consumers.”

Testing small-scale renewables and disaster response

SnoPUD will build a Microgrid and Clean Energy Technology Center in Arlington. The facility, currently in the design phase, will demonstrate how evolving energy technologies – including energy storage, a microgrid system, small-scale renewable energy and an electric vehicle-to-grid system – can work together to improve grid resiliency, disaster recovery and renewable energy integration. It also will include a technology center to educate industry and the community about these technologies.

“Beyond the considerable value this facility provides for research of clean energy technologies, we will also test its viability to serve as a critical backup system for PUD operations in the event of a major disaster,” said SnoPUD CEO and General Manager Craig Collar. “We commend the state for supporting innovation in the energy sector and positioning our region as a leader.”

The utility has already installed the largest flow battery system in North America, using batteries and energy storage solutions developed by Washington researchers and companies with support from prior Clean Energy Fund programs.

“Our state’s investments in clean energy are helping strengthen communities all across the state,” Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said. ”As our strengths in information technology and cloud computing converge in new energy systems and operations, technologies developed and deployed in Washington are positioned to sell into global markets, creating new jobs and business opportunities here.”

Since 2013, the Washington State Clean Energy fund has invested over $72 million and leveraged another $128.7 million in matching funds from industry partners. Washington state’s numerous clean technology researchers, companies, investors and public and private utilities are at the forefront of energy innovation in the United States. Learn more at


Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

Commerce “Regulatory Roadmap” Makes Top 25 in Harvard’s 2017 Innovations in American Government Awards Competition

Innovations in American Government Top 25Olympia, Wash. – May 8, 2017 – The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Regulatory Roadmap program was announced as a Top 25 program in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. As a Top 25 program, Regulatory Roadmap is representing the top two percent of all initial applications for the Innovations Award.

Regulatory Roadmaps are online navigational guides to opening a restaurant, finding a manufacturing site and – coming soon – successfully operating as a registered building contractor. They provide all state and local regulatory requirements in a single place, and they increase predictability for businesses while reducing time and mistakes along the way.

Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government program at the Ash Center, called these programs “the vanguard of creative, solution-oriented governing, demonstrating that the drive to make government work better and do more comes from all levels and jurisdictions of every size. These programs are focused on an impressive range of areas and some of the country’s most pressing social concerns, including the opioid epidemic, government efficiency and efficacy, environmental conservation, homelessness and the school and workforce readiness of our citizens.”

“Congratulations to the Department of Commerce for our Regulatory Roadmap being named one of the Top 25 Innovation in American Government Programs.  It is rewarding to watch this growing effort reduce time and improve predictability for small businesses in communities throughout our state. The roadmap tools for navigating local and state regulatory processes help keep Washington one of the best places in America to start and grow a business,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

The Innovations in American Government Awards was created by the Ford Foundation in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness. Since its inception, over 500 government innovations across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized and have collectively received more than $22 million in grants to support dissemination efforts. Such models of good governance also inform research and academic study around key policy areas both at Harvard Kennedy School and academic institutions worldwide. Past winners have served as the basis of case studies taught in more than 450 Harvard courses and over 2,250 courses worldwide.


Daniel Harsha
Associate Director for Communications, Ash Center

Cheryl Smith
Senior Policy Advisor, Washington Department of Commerce
(360) 725-2808

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit

Gov. Inslee names Scott Hutsell to lead Public Works Board

Lincoln County commissioner Scott Hutsell appointed to serve as chair of the Washington State Public Works Board

Scott HutsellOLYMPIA, Wash. – Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Scott Hutsell to serve as chair position of the Washington State Public Works Board.  Hutsell, a lifetime resident of Washington, currently serves as a Lincoln County Commissioner, and was first elected in 2008. He has owned his Davenport-based business for 30 years.

“I applied for the chairmanship because I think we can take what we do to a whole new level,”  Hutsell shared.

“Scott has a strong commitment to public service and a clear vision for the board’s future,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “I know he will bring leadership and collaboration to the role of chair.”

The mission of the Public Works Board is to provide financial and technical assistance to Washington communities for critical public health, safety and environmental infrastructure that supports community and economic vitality.

The board consists of 13 governor-appointed members from stakeholder groups representing:

  • Washington State Association of Counties,
  • Association of Washington Cities,
  • Washington State Association of Sewer and Water Districts,
  •  Public Utility Districts Associations, and
  • General public members.

    Hutsell’s term began on April 24, 2017, and continues at the pleasure of the Governor.

    The legislature created the Public Works Board in 1985 in partnership with local governments to help address community infrastructure needs through a dedicated local funding pool. This revolving loan program is managed by a citizen board comprised of local infrastructure representatives.

    For more information about the Public Works Board, please visit

    May is Community Action Month in Washington State

    Local Community Action Agencies celebrate decades of service alleviating poverty and strengthening communities

    OLYMPIA, WA – Washington state is celebrating Community Action Month, dedicated to recognizing the success of the national Community Action Network that fights poverty across the United States. Commerce manages the Community Services Block Grant program in Washington state, distributing funds to 30 community action agencies.

    “Community Action Month is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the impact Community Action has in the lives of families and communities across the country,” stated Merritt Mount, Executive Director of the Washington State Community Action Partnership. “Agencies are successful every day in helping families achieve economic security. Given that the needs of each family and community are unique, Community Action is able to use a range of resources and programs to meet local needs in creative and impactful ways.”

    “This past year, community action agencies provided 794,780 people in Washington with services that help them move toward self-sufficiency,” Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said. “As a result, over 82,000 individuals successfully reduced or eliminated barriers to employment, acquired a job, increased their income or achieved “living wage” employment and benefits. Commerce is proud to support this work which changes lives and strengthens communities.”

    The national Community Action Network, originally created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s

    Economic Opportunity Act, was and continues to be a pivotal piece of legislation in the War on Poverty.

    Read Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation, declaring May as Community Action Month in Washington.  Learn more about the Washington State Community Action Partnership, and find your local Community Action Agency to access services or volunteer opportunities.


    Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

    Merritt Mount, Washington State Community Action Partnership, 360-888-8033

    Washington companies energize Hannover

    Andrew Crowder, Commerce International Trade Specialist

    One of the most interesting things to watch at Hannover Messe is the connections our Washington companies make with each other while attending this huge international trade fair devoted to industrial technology and manufacturing.

    Our delegation members B&G Machine and TriboTEX connected around engine remanufacturing and repair.

    BluHaptics and OSI connected about analytics for oil and gas exploration vessels, and spacecraft.

    Wellons and Enertechnix connected about boilers used in biomass power production.

    Enertechnix and Splitvane connected about instrumentation for a steel foundry.

    Kirkland-based OSI also connected with representatives from Microsoft, which is exhibiting here in another part of the fair.

    On the final day of the mission, our companies were all busy pursuing new international leads today.

    Energy was a big focus this year at Hannover Messe. The total US energy delegation comprises 45 companies.  All by itself, Washington firms make up a fifth of the American contingent.

    Our Commerce team met today with Ray Bianchi, the newly-hired vice president for marketing and event development of Hannover Fairs USA, the US arm of Hannover Messe.  Bianchi is interested in developing new trade shows in the Northwest, and those discussions will continue during the next few weeks.

    As we take our train and plane seats for home from another very successful presence at Hannover, Eric Rothberg from Enertechnix said: “Reflecting on the value of the show, besides meeting potential customers, we can meet other companies from Washington, have the chance to see what other companies related to our industry are doing, and have meetings with US Commercial Service officers from all over the world. And STEP funding really helps small companies like ours go to shows like this.”

    Exploring collaborations in Germany

    Andrew Crowder, Commerce International Trade Specialist

    Our second full day at Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology expo, was dominated by group events.  First thing this morning, the Washington delegation visited the German State of Niedersachsen booth in Hall 27, one of the three halls devoted to energy at Hannover Messe.  We met with the12 featured businesses from Niedersachsen.

    Later, acting undersecretary of the US Department of Commerce, Ken Hyatt, visited our booth in Hall 13 and met representatives of the companies in our delegation.  Mr. Hyatt also promoted collaboration with the Seattle US Export Assistance Center, which is co-located with Commerce offices in downtown Seattle.

    Our delegation ended the day by attending a special briefing by a senior energy policy specialist from Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), a cabinet-level agency of the German federal government.  GTAI has delivered this briefing to Washington state delegations every year since 2013.  The collaboration between us and GTAI has resulted in two Washington companies participating in energy-related demonstration projects in Germany to date.

    Traffic at the show was heavier Tuesday than Monday.  On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Hannover Messe, and security measures reduced turnout.

    Follow our delegation this week on social media @WAStateCommerce, #hm17

    Day 1 at Hannover Messe Highlights

    Hannover Messe 20117 delegationAndrew Crowder, Commerce International Trade Specialist

    Day one of this year’s edition of Hannover Messe, the world’s largest manufacturing trade show, is in the books.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the event today, spending time in one of the three halls at the Messe devoted to energy technology.

    Seven of the eight Washington companies in the delegation started their work at the Messe today; one client had business in Munich today and will join us tomorrow.

    Kudos to OSI Consulting ( of Kirkland, for logging a full schedule that began with a 9 a.m. meeting with Microsoft, and concluded with a presentation about the Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project at the Messe’s Integrated Energy Forum.

    Another company, Splitvane Engineers of Sumas (, was pleased to learn that a German foundry president was planning to drive 300 kilometers. to meet with them on Friday.

    Our delegation is very interesting this year.  Among our delegation executives, we have three who are foreign-born, (Egypt, Germany and Ukraine) and one who is a former professional race car driver. Two companies are rural, from Colfax and Sumas. Two of our companies are relatively new University of Washington spinouts, and another continues a business that has been in the same family for more than 50 years.

    With companies that touch on aspects of industrial efficiency ranging from biomass equipment, to new technology to smelt steel to consulting on smart grid, Washington is well-prepared to build its reputation as a global leader in energy and related information technology applications.

    View our company directory and follow the “Choose Washington” delegation led by Commerce on social media @WAStateCommerce, @Hannover_Messe #HM17

    Companies thrilled with Aircraft Interiors show experience

    Three separate procurement teams meeting with Washington suppliers.
    Three separate procurement teams meeting with Washington suppliers.

    “Very happy.” “Productive.” “Great value.” These are just a few snippets of the glowing reviews from all of the companies participating in the Commerce-led trip to Aircraft Interiors Expo 2017 in Hamburg, Germany this week.

    Assisted by our amazing team of European representatives from the UK-based TFDI, our delegation logged dozens of one-on-one and group procurement meetings as well as several exclusive opportunities and VIP visits during the four-day mission.

    “Good job by the Washington State Department of Commerce (through TFDI) in arranging meetings with the right people (at companies), providing a win-win-win for the state and companies,” said Windspeed president and CEO Shakil Hussain.

    Orion executives Sean Dwyer and Richard Moe said they would never have been able to meet with a senior vice president of a major tier-one supplier had we not made the trip to AIX.

    Prior to opening day at AIX, most of the group visited Airbus’ main facility in Hamburg for a half-day of meetings. It was quite impressive to be greeted with a welcome message on the highway reader board. Additional meetings took place later at the show, where the Airbus procurement manager for flying components came with requests for quotes in hand.
    Airbus main facitlity in Hamburg, Germany

    In this our third year exhibiting at AIX, the Washington state delegation shared space with fellow members of Hanse-Aerospace, Germany’s largest association of aviation and space industry companies. Washington state is the only U.S. state member of the organization – a reflection of our global reputation as a leading aerospace manufacturing hub.

    From this central spot at the show we hosted a “sold-out” slate of business prospect and VIP meetings during the event. We were also honored with an invitation to the Hamburg Senate Aircraft Interiors show reception at Lufthansa Technik’s main maintenance, repair and operations center in Hamburg.  It was a phenomenal opportunity for our companies to network with all of the leading aircraft interiors companies from Germany and other European Union countries.

    More highlights of the trip included:

  • Tool Gauge, Inc. announcement of their big expansion in Tacoma, creating 50-100 news jobs over the next five years.
  • Invitations to the exclusive Crystal Cabin Awards ceremony attended by some 250 industry executives. The seven Crystal Cabin award categories represent one of the highest international honors for companies that specialize in technology and products for aircraft cabins.
  • One company furthered discussions begun at AIX 2016 and reports they are now on the cusp of a major new three to five-year contract.
  • Another member of our delegation closed out the last day of the show by earning a nondisclosure agreement and request for drawings from a major aircraft seating company. The contact was generated by someone who had attended a group procurement meeting earlier in the day. Recognizing our Washington supplier as they passed by that afternoon, the representative pulled a colleague in to speak with them.
  • From start to finish, this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo was positive for our companies. They have plenty of follow-up work on the books and want to return again next year to keep the success going.


    Washington State delegation joins German aerospace cluster at Aircraft Interiors Expo

    Commerce leads 11 Washington companies seeking to strengthen connections, build on opportunities with Germany’s Hanse-Aerospace group at international trade show

    OLYMPIA, Wash.  –  Washington State, the leading global hub for aerospace design, development and manufacturing, is the only U.S. state exhibiting at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), April 4-6 in Hamburg, Germany. For its third appearance at AIX, the Washington Department of Commerce joins more than 80 companies exhibiting under the umbrella of Germany‘s Hanse-Aerospace association of aviation and space industry companies.

    One day before AIX, Commerce staff and several members of the delegation will visit Airbus at its center in Hamburg Finkenwerder.

    Hosting their largest AIX delegation to date, the “Choose Washington” team has its own island exhibit (#6A70/F) inside the Hanse-Aerospace Pavilion – the focal point of the show. Participating Washington State delegates are:

    Washington’s aerospace sector numbers more than 1,400 related firms, employing nearly 139,000 of the world’s most highly trained workers, supplying every major aircraft equipment manufacturer worldwide. Aircraft interiors is one of the fastest-growing segments, and Washington companies are on the leading edge of demand for new technology and design, with features and materials that are redefining comfort and function in the air.

    “Our aerospace industry serves the full breadth of commercial, military, general aviation and space, producing nearly 90 percent of all passenger planes manufactured in North America,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce.

    A major driver of Washington’s economy, the powerful aerospace sector strengthens communities all across the state, with aerospace-related businesses employing people in 35 of 39 counties, Bonlender said.

    “We would not be able to attend such prestigious international industry events as AIX in Hamburg without the continued support and guidance from the Washington State Department of Commerce,” explains Debbie Lee, CEO of Tool Gauge. “As a fast-growing Washington-based aerospace supplier, the ability to connect directly with our European customers is instrumental to our future success and we are grateful to Commerce for providing us with those opportunities.”

    “IDEA International was formed in early 2005. Our ability to operate on a global level has definitely been enhanced through the invaluable support of the Washington State Department of Commerce and their support team. We have traveled to Europe, the Middle East and Asia and gained multiple contracts as a result. A jolly big thank you to one and all,” said Julian Shape, President/CEO, IDEA International, an engineering and certification consultancy specializing in structures and interiors stress analysis.

    “The Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg is the most cost-effective event for us to meet international customers, including airlines and OEMs, for the very large aircraft interiors market,” said John Courtright, director of sales and marketing for Structural Integrity Engineering (SIE). “SIE is in the business of providing quality installation engineering and supplemental type certificates for complex cabin interior reconfigurations and aircraft connectivity systems and, as a small supplier, this business is important to us.  Without the teamwork and guidance of the Washington State Department of Commerce aerospace team, SIE would not have the global reach needed to get to this international customer base.”

    “Orion is appreciative of the guidance from the Washington State Department of Commerce and the U.S. Export Assistance Center that we received while introducing our capabilities to a larger market, and promoting our products and services on an international stage,” said John Theisen, president and CEO of Orion Industries, and Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance 2017 Executive of the Year. A three-time Boeing Supplier of the Year, Orion is a leader in the manufacturing, painting and finishing of precision metal fabrication parts. Its nonprofit training and education division, Orionworks, was recently honored with a 2017 Innovation Award by the Puget Sound Business Journal for its work addressing diverse populations and employing persons with disabilities or other barriers to employment.

    Several companies in this year’s AIX delegation received export vouchers and other assistance including market research, business-to-business matchmaking and other services from the Department of Commerce international trade team.

    Learn about all of the companies in this year’s AIX trade show online. Visit Washington State’s exhibit in Hamburg in the Hanse-Aerospace Pavilion, stand 6A70/F.  Follow on social media @WAStateCommerce.