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.

Vision 2030: Letter to Key Legislators

To Key Legislative Leaders,

One of the most critical budget decisions to be made during this legislative session involves the funding of medical school education. Your final decision will signal the state's commitment to health care, and begin to address the critical physician shortage that we face, especially in rural Washington.

Representing the Executive Committee of the Board of Greater Spokane Incorporated and a special board team called Vision 2030, we are focused on achieving the community's comprehensive vision for medical education and research. As such, we want to express our support for funding both the planned expansion of the University of Washington School of Medicine’s WWAMI program in Spokane and the work of Washington State University to create its own medical school.

At this point in the special session, you face the challenging role of reconciling two significantly different budget approaches to address the expansion of medical education. With limited funds, we expect a compromise will be negotiated, and ask that the final budget recognize that each university is moving forward on a separate strategic path, and that the necessary appropriations be granted to allow each program to reach its full vision and potential in expanding medical education for the state.

The University of Washington has an established and nationally recognized program that is educating students today. If the program were to cease operations in Spokane due to lack of funding, the community and the state would be dealt an economic blow, and the goal of educating future doctors would experience a devastating setback. This is a risk we cannot afford to take.

With regard to our support of the WSU vision, Greater Spokane Incorporated was a strong advocate for changing the 1917 law in order to give WSU the authority to create its own independently accredited medical school. We appreciate the landslide, bi-partisan support of the legislature that has enabled the creation of an additional medical school to address the state’s burgeoning and growing physician shortage. WSU has already mobilized and is focused and fully prepared to meet the rigors of operating a first class medical school.

Implied within the strength of the vote that supported expansion of medical school education, was the funding necessary to sustain and grow the existing WWAMI program, coupled with a new investment to realize the WSU medical school vision. Both universities are well prepared to augment the state’s commitment to expanding medical education, making additional seats available for Washington students.

As representatives of business and the Spokane community as a whole, we hope we can count on your budget support for the efforts and plans of both universities to provide medical school opportunities, graduate medical education and research that will address the physician shortage and provide significant economic development for the region. We cannot continue to fall further behind in providing access to health care, and we can most definitely not afford to lose medical school seats that ultimately produce additional physicians.


Respectfully submitted,

The Executive Committee of Greater Spokane Incorporated & Vision 2030 Oversight Board

Linda Elkin | Market President, U.S. Bank | Chair, GSI Board of Trustees

Scott Dietzen | Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen

Dr. Christine Johnson | Chancellor, Community Colleges of Spokane | Chair-Elect, GSI Board of Trustees

Ezra Eckhardt | President/COO, Umpqua Bank

Michael Senske | President/CEO, Pearson Packaging Systems | Chair-Elect, GSI Board of Trustees

Jack Heath | President/COO, Washington Trust Bank

Steve Stevens | President/CEO, Greater Spokane Incorporated

Terry Judge | President/CEO, Hotstart, Inc.

Elaine Couture | Regional Chief Executive, Providence Health Care

Pam Lund | CEO, Girl Scout of Eastern Washington & North Idaho

Larry Krauter | CEO, Spokane International Airport

W. Stacey Cowles | Publisher, The Spokesman-Review

Marcelo Morales | Owner, A4 Ventures

Scott Morris | Chairman/President/CEO, Avista

Jeff Philipps | President/CEO, Rosauers Supermarkets

Tom Simpson | Co-Founder and Chairman, etailz

Bill Symmes | Principal, Witherspoon Kelley

Francisco R. Velázquez, MD, SM | President and Chief Executive Officer, PAML, LLC and PAML Ventures

Kurt Walsdoff | Market President, Bank of America

Comcast Selects Spokane for New Call Center

Regional Comcast representatives held a press conference in the Greater Spokane Incorporated conference room on Tuesday afternoon to announce the selection of Spokane as one of three sites at which it will develop new state-of-the-art customer support centers. The other two locations are Albuquerque, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona.

Hiring is already underway and Comcast expects to hire 80 people every six weeks, culminating in 675 new jobs for the greater-Spokane area. Positions will include management, human resources, training and customer care, with cumulative annual salary and benefits packages totaling more than $27 million. Comcast extends employee investments that include paid training, tuition reimbursement, opportunities for promotion, relocation and advancement within the company. Employees will work from a temporary location until a permanent 80,000-square-foot facility, expected to cost $7 million, is built.

The opening of the Customer Support Center in Spokane is part of Comcast’s ongoing commitment to provide an excellent customer experience. This center will expand Comcast’s presence in the Spokane area; currently 170 employees serve more than 100,000 customers in Spokane and Spokane Valley, including hundreds of businesses.

In early 2014 Greater Spokane Incorporated began working with a site-selection firm representing a large, undisclosed, customer care center. Since that time GSI has worked with the company to develop a training package and other site-specific incentives, including streamlined permitting through various municipalities as a site has yet to be selected.

“Comcast’s addition of hundreds of new jobs in our region proves that this Fortune 100 company sees a tremendous value in what the Spokane community offers. The greater-Spokane region features outstanding locations for business and a highly trained, tech-savvy workforce. Comcast’s decision is a testament to the strong partnerships this community has between business, education and governments that make eastern Washington the place to grow your business,” said Steve Stevens, President & CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

GSI Request for Qualifications, Consulting Services

Greater Spokane Incorporated
Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
Consulting Services
April 30, 2015

Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) is soliciting Statements of Qualifications for professional planning services to prepare a Strategic Business Plan to support the consideration of creating a Port Authority in Spokane County pursuant to RCW 53.04.
Submittals are due no later than 5:00 PM, Friday, May 22, 2015 to:
Robin Toth
801 W Riverside
Suite 100
Spokane, Washington 99201
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
GSI requests that responses to this request be submitted in pdf form and in hard copy form (6 copies). Late responses will not be accepted. Questions may be directed to Robin Toth by email only.
I. Background: GSI is leading a community effort to assess the community’s support for creating a new Port Authority under RCW 53.04 within the Spokane County. GSI has partnered with the following agencies and organizations in this effort:
  • Spokane County
  • City of Spokane
  • Avista Corp.
  • IEDS Logistics
  • CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
  • Inland Northwest AGC
  • U.S. Bank
  • Greater Spokane Incorporated
  • Community Colleges of Spokane
Critical to that effort is the development of a strategic business plan that addresses the forecasted activities, authorities, construction, financing and development of a new Port Authority consistent with Washington’s regulatory environment, as well as the needs of the community. Critical to the effort will be the consideration of the existing Spokane Airport and its treatment in the forecasted strategic business plan.
Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) works to create something greater for the Spokane Region by growing jobs and business investments.  We partner with the local business community and partners throughout the region in support of a healthy and vibrant environment in which to live, work, learn and do business.
We do this by concentrating on the four key areas of economic development, education and workforce, public policy, and small business.
GSI is funded by more than 1,200 private-sector member investors, Spokane County, Washington State, and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Cheney, Airway Heights, Deer Park, Millwood and Medical Lake.
II. Tentative Schedule
May 4, 2015 RFQ Issued
May 22, 2015 SOQ Submitted
May 26 to 29, 2015 Interviews if Requested (in Spokane)
June 15, 2015 Contract Executed and Project Initiated
November 30, 2015 Project Completed
III. General Qualifications
Proposers must have demonstrated experience in the working details of a Washington Port Authority; have a clear understanding of the regulatory authority governing port districts; understand the financial structure of municipal governments, airports and ports in Washington; have a working knowledge of the community ambitions and vision for greater Spokane; be able to develop strategic approaches to complex challenges; have the skills to effectively facilitate community discussion; and the ability to communicate findings in a variety of graphic and written mediums.
IV. Qualification Responses should be less than 12 pages total (excluding the cover letter).
Please include the following information:
1. Cover Letter
2. Statement of Qualifications
a. Name address and phone number of the firm(s)
b. List of similar relevant projects. (GSI may ask for sample work products)
c. Names of individual project team members, professional experience and education. (Bios)
d. Three references of similar work, including name and phone numbers of contact persons.
3. General Approach
a. General approach to how the work will be accomplished. Please provide sufficient level of detail to convey the general approach; a detailed approach is unnecessary for the Statement of Qualifications Response. The actual scope will be negotiated between GSI and the successful firm. That negotiation will result in a project budget and a more detailed set of deliverables.
b. A proposed schedule for completion of the Report (if differing from GSI’s tentative schedule).
V. Right to Reject Qualifications Responses
In evaluating the submittals and selecting a consultant, GSI reserves the right to:
  • Amend the Request for Qualifications.
  • Not award a contract for requested services.
  • Waive any irregularities or informalities in any proposal.
  • Accept the proposal deemed to be the most beneficial to the community and GSI’s partner agencies.
VI. Cost of preparation of the Statements of Qualifications
All costs of preparing these RFQ responses, attending interviews that may be requested and developing a more detailed scope of work shall be borne by the proposing consultants.
VII. Professional Services Agreement
The consultant awarded the contract to develop the strategic business plan shall be required to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with GSI.
VIII. Professional Liability Insurance
The selected consultant shall have and maintain a commercial professional liability policy of limits of $500,000 per claim/$1,000,000 annual aggregate, and which shall protect GSI from liability or other negligence.


AGORA Awards Business Finalists Selected; Annual AGORA Awards June 3

April 21, 2015 -- Greater Spokane Incorporated congratulates 17 Spokane regional businesses that have been chosen as finalists for the 2015 AGORA Awards for Business Excellence. These businesses have been selected by a group of judges who carefully consider growth, marketing strategy, employee environment, customer service, response to adversity, strategic planning, creativity and contribution to the regional economy.

The nominees are:

Small Business Category
Datarang LLC
Nothing Bundt Cakes
River Linguistics Inc.
Star Financial and Insurance Services Inc.

Medium Business Category
Digital Imaging Solutions
Fairbridge Inn Express
Spokane Gymnastics

Large Business Category
Avista Corp.
F5 Networks Inc.
Itron Inc.
Trindera Engineering

Small Nonprofit Category
Spokane Arts
The Exchange Club

Large Nonprofit Category
Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest
Spokane Hoopfest
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane

This year's AGORA Awards will take place on Wednesday, June 3 from 3:30-6 PM at the Spokane Convention Center. To register for this event visit GSI's Events page.

2015 AGORA Award Sponsors include ...

Title Sponsor: Bank of America

Category Sponsors: Asuris Northwest Health, Magnuson Worldwide, Northwest Farm Credit Services and Telect

Media Sponsor: The Journal of Business

Chosen from a wide-range of regional business and community nonprofits, this year's AGORA Judges include volunteers and representation from Mountain Dog Sign Co. (head judge), Accountemps (head judge), Whitworth University (head judge), Horizon Hospice (head judge), Stantec Consulting Inc., CenturyLink, Coeur d'Alene Casino, GeoEngineers Inc., Emerald Outdoor Advertising, Umpqua Bank, DataPro Solutions Inc., Inland NW Metallurgical Services, YMCA of the Inland Northwest, Associated Industries, Caterpillar Inc., Gallagher Benefit Services Inc., Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, Asuris Northwest Health, and Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest.

CONTACT: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | Greater Spokane Incorporated | 509.321.3612

About the AGORA Awards
The AGORA Awards have been a staple of Spokane's business community for the past 30 years and recognize business excellence throughout the region. Nominees are solicited by Greater Spokane Incorporated and asked to complete a questionnaire. Seventeen area volunteer judges from various businesses determined semi-finalists based on the questionnaire. The judges then choose finalists and conduct formal interviews to determine the AGORA Award winners.

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, Medical Lake and Newport, as well as the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information, visit or contact us at 509.624.1393 or 1.800.SPOKANE.


Small Business Program Job Opening

POSITION TITLE:  Small Business Programs and Services Manager



EMPLOYMENT STATUS: Regular, Full-time; Exempt – Administrative


GSI is seeking a qualified professional to fully develop and administer programs and services that attract, support, and retain small business members.  These programs will include networking events, referral programs for cultivation of new customers and professional connections and business cost savings programs.  This position will work to attract small business members and increase retention by effectively communicating the opportunities that are directly related to increased ROI and cost savings for business members.  This position will increase revenue to GSI through membership sales, the sale of business cost savings programs, advertising sales, and increased retention.


Responsibilities include:

  • Assist with strategy and administration for various small business related programs, events and services as identified.
  • Sale of programs that assist members with business costs and increase non-dues revenue to GSI
  • Sale of Advertising in various GSI electronic publications
  • Assist with soliciting and managing Member Deals for the GSI Web site.
  • Serve as staff liaison to committees that provide networking, identification of new customers, and building of professional relationships.
  • Increase overall organization account and revenue retention with outreach, engagement, and business solutions.   This may include retention calls/visits, delinquent calls and other efforts as strategized; emphasis will be on small business members.
  • Sale of memberships is assumed to be half of position responsibilities.  Develop strategies and maintain an active prospect database & lead pipeline through prospecting and cold calling to surpass individual monthly and annual membership sales goals. Emphasis will be on small business recruitment.
  • Ability to find the decision maker and overcoming objections are essential to success
  • Maintain accurate records and utilize a CRM system
  • Assist with the implementation of targeted small business and sales projects
  • Attend, and outreach to new and current members at GSI at events, and programs including monthly Good Morning Greater Spokane Breakfasts and Business After Hours events and a number of annual events including Annual Meeting, Economic Forecast, and Business-to Business Trade Show.   Participate in membership events such as ribbon cutting ceremonies and business openings.
  • Work in collaboration and partnership with current Membership team and contribute to positive team environment.
  • Other responsibilities and duties as assigned


The successful candidate will be an experienced and highly motivated self-starter.  He/she must be able to develop and maintain a robust prospect pipeline for all revenue streams, including membership sales, build professional relationships, understand the needs of potential members and small businesses.   A high level of organizational skills and attention to detail will be critical to the success of the position.



  • Bachelor's Degree preferred
  • Minimum 4 to 6 years sales experience that includes cold calling, prospecting,  lead generation and account retention
  • Demonstrated record of selling a service, “intangible" service, or non-profit development experience a plus.   Consultative sales also a plus
  • Proven ability to exceed goals
  • Exceptional written/verbal/presentation skills
  • Ability to handle multiple projects concurrently
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office products
  • Enthusiasm and team spirit



We offer a base salary plus a commission structure that will reward the professional that meets and exceeds their goals.



Travel by automobile in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area is required. Mileage reimbursement, cell phone expenses, and reimbursement for pre-approved meal expenses is provided.



Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. are GSI office hours.  Flexibility is afforded this position due to the nature of the position.


BENEFITS:  We also offer an excellent benefits package.   Medical, dental, life and long-term disability insurance, paid vacation and sick leave, holidays and employer sponsored 401(k) plan.


Please submit your resume and a cover letter to: Tammy Tracy, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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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.