Press Releases and News

Find out what's happening in the Spokane region! We have news items that affect your business and our local economy.

Media: If you'd like more information on any of the stories published in this section, please contact Tricia Webster, Marketing and Communications Manager at 509.321.3612.

GSI Hires Entrepreneurship Program Director

(SPOKANE, Wash.) Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) is pleased to announce the hiring of Ryan Arnold for the position of Entrepreneurship Program Director. This new position will be responsible for the leadership and guidance of the local and regional entrepreneur ecosystem, and GSI's Startup Spokane program.

An experienced entrepreneur, Ryan formed his own company, Sightline Energy, a consultant firm to the architecture and engineering industries to assist them in navigating the increasingly complex energy efficiency and building sustainability field. In addition, Ryan and a partner founded the Innovation Collective, a Coeur d'Alene-based entrepreneur support organization that is focused on providing events and education, the alignment of community resources and the connection of local entrepreneurs to capital opportunities.

"Ryan's hiring is an important step in the continued efforts to support and grow the regional entrepreneur economy," said Steve Stevens, President & CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated. "Nurturing our startups and assisting innovative entrepreneurs with the right connections to help them expand and thrive will bring more opportunities and jobs to our community."

Launched in 2014, the Startup Spokane initiative at GSI includes educational opportunities, events, available co-working space at Share Space Spokane, and the new website which was designed to provide connections and visibility for resources critical to entrepreneur growth.

"I have a passion and vision for building the entrepreneur ecosystem throughout the greater Spokane region," said Ryan. "While my initial efforts have been focused in the neighboring community of Coeur d'Alene, I have also worked with other regional organizations such as Startup Weekend Spokane, Connect Northwest, Spokane Angel Alliance, and the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council."

"As its core mission to grow jobs and business investment, GSI has made entrepreneurship and promoting a creative business culture a priority," said Linda Elkin, Board Chair of Greater Spokane Incorporated. "The initiatives that have been recently developed will now have the potential to be leveraged to their full capacity with the hiring of a dedicated Entrepreneurship Program Director."

Ryan will officially begin his duties December 1, 2014, and will be a member of GSI's Economic Development team.

GSI Acquires Remaining Launchpad Assets

LaunchPad Inland Northwest, LLC (LaunchPad INW) and Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) are pleased to announce the sale of LaunchPad INW’s remaining assets to GSI. The move strengthens the entrepreneur ecosystem in the region by enhancing the Startup Spokane platform which is designed to connect entrepreneurs and startups to the resources they need for success.

LaunchPad INW was founded as a platform for showcasing local innovation, and connecting entrepreneurs and businesses to local resources. The assets to be acquired include the LaunchPad INW website, newsletter subscribers, and social media properties. GSI will incorporate these into their Startup Spokane program.

The Startup Spokane program helps to facilitate the connection of startup companies to community resources, helping them start, build and expand their business. The program provides a portfolio of events for entrepreneurs including Pitch Panels, Executive Connect and the Investment Capital Forum, in addition to a co-working space, Share Space Spokane, and GSI’s recently launched website.

We invite you to get engaged. For more information about the program, visit, sign up for GSI’s monthly Startup Spokane newsletter, or contact Drew Repp at GSI at 509.321.3634 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Spokane Ag Expo Scam

Hello all - please note that some business folks are getting calls from a gentleman claiming to be affiliated with Spokane Ag Expo, selling room nights for the event. Please know that this is a scam. Room night reservations are to be done directly through hotels that will be on the website at or the Greater Spokane Incorporated offices in about three weeks. Thank you! If you have any questions, please contact Myrna O'Leary at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 509.321.3633.


Congressional Debate to Take Place Oct. 30 at The Lincoln Center
October 16, 2014

(SPOKANE, Wash.) - Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), in partnership with Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and West Plains Chamber of Commerce is hosting the United States 5th Congressional District candidates for a debate on Thursday, October 30, 4:00 PM at The Lincoln Center. The public may register at The event is open to the public, and the cost is $10 to attend. The candidates will be available for interviews with the press directly after the event.

About the Candidates:

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Cathy McMorris Rodgers was born to a farming family with deep roots in Eastern Washington. She lives in Spokane with her husband and three children. Cathy believes new technologies can make life better for all Americans, making government more open and efficient. She has a strong record of bipartisan accomplishments and continues to enact solutions for our region, including agriculture, rural health care and research, hydropower, veterans and military families.

Joe Pakootas
Joe Pakootas is CEO of the Colville Confederated Tribal Corporation, manages hundreds of employees and more than 1M acres of land. His implementation of sustainable business practices realized a $10M economic turnaround and secured a multi-million dollar revenue stream, improving the lives of 10,000 members of 12 tribal bands across three states. In 2013, Joe received the University of Washington's Bradford Award as top minority businessman in Washington State.

Avista Invests $200,000 in Spokane STEM Network as a Founding Partner

(SPOKANE, Wash.) - Spokane STEM today announced it has received a $200,000 investment from Avista, a founding partner of the Network. The partnership allows Spokane STEM to implement key initiatives crucial to the network's mission of improving teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and math in the region.

The Spokane STEM Network, a collaborative effort of early learning, K-12, higher education, business and community organizations, works to transform the way we think, learn, work, and live through STEM (science technology, engineering and math) by enhancing STEM education opportunities for all youth in the region and by increasing the number of students pursuing and achieving success in STEM careers.

"Spokane and Washington State are built on a STEM-based economy. Avista's investment in the Spokane STEM Network is significant and creates momentum to grow understanding and interest in STEM and most importantly, to engage our students in STEM learning and the pursuit of STEM careers," said Alisha Benson, executive director for Spokane STEM and vice president, education and workforce for Greater Spokane Incorporated.

Avista's founding partnership with Spokane STEM will help ensure that high-quality STEM education opportunities are available to all students in the region and that more students are completing coursework preparing them to work in STEM-related careers. It also allows for a more focused approach to creating and supporting STEM opportunities in the region.

"Our investment into Spokane STEM makes sense as the Network provides a focused approach to creating, growing and supporting STEM opportunities in our region. As a STEM employer, we see first-hand the need to attract and engage more students in STEM and develop the skills necessary for today's workforce. This important work takes investment from the private sector to meet the workforce needs and, ultimately, drive the economic growth and vitality of our region," said Scott Morris, chairman, president and CEO of Avista Corp.

Avista has also invested $25,000 in Washington STEM to further STEM education across the state. STEM Networks have been created in six other regions around the state: Mid-Columbia (Tri-Cities), Snohomish, South Central (Yakima), South King County, Southwest Washington, and West Sound (Bremerton). The Networks are charged with creating unified systems of STEM education, fostering partnerships, aligning resources, and increasing impact in their own communities.

About Avista
Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is the operating division that provides electric service to 365,000 customers and natural gas to 325,000 customers. Its service territory covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million. Alaska Energy and Resources Company is an Avista subsidiary that provides retail electric service in the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska, through its subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company. Avista stock is traded under the ticker symbol "AVA." For more information about Avista, please visit Avista Corp. and the Avista Corp. logo are trademarks of Avista Corporation.

About the Spokane STEM Network
Spokane STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is a regional nonprofit network of leaders from early learning and K-12 education, the business community, higher education and community-based organizations that serves as a catalyst for advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning and innovation. Launched in May of 2012, it is one of seven STEM networks statewide working in collaboration with Washington STEM to revitalize STEM education. The work of Spokane STEM is supported by Greater Spokane Incorporated in partnership with the NorthEast Washington Education Service District 101, and supports broad educational attainment initiatives designed to prepare our region's youth to enter competitive 21st Century careers. Learn more at

About Greater Spokane Incorporated
Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), the Spokane region's Chamber and Economic Development organization, has been creating something greater for Spokane and the Inland Northwest since 1881. GSI is charged with the mission of growing jobs and business investment through robust programs in economic and workforce development, public policy and small business. GSI is funded through a combination of private and public investment, including 1,200 private-sector member investors; Spokane County; Washington State Department of Commerce; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, Medical Lake, Newport, Deer Park, and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information, visit or contact us at 509-624-1393 or 1-800-SPOKANE.

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Find out what's happening in the Spokane region! We've got news items that affect your business and our local economy. For more information please contact Marketing Director Maria Vandervert.