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.

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 of Charities

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 .


Inland Northwest Delegation Heads to DC for Regional Advocacy Trip

Next week Greater Spokane Incorporated, in partnership with the Greater Spokane Valley and West Plains Chambers of Commerce, will lead a delegation of 40 business, education and community leaders to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of the Inland Northwest region.

The annual DC fly-in gives area leaders the opportunity to meet with key officials and present policy priorities that are important to the region’s business climate. This year’s advocacy trip delegation will include representatives from local government, manufacturing, healthcare, financial, aerospace, clean tech, agribusiness, transportation and higher education sectors.

The 2015 GSI Federal Legislative Priority Agenda represents a targeted advocacy approach that prioritizes specific legislative goals and allows Greater Spokane Incorporated to present a unified community agenda around the most essential items that have the broadest regional impact. As such, the DC Fly-in delegation has been broken into special-interest groups that will attend sessions at the Capitol and share information with representatives connected with those particular issues.

Meetings with leaders at the Pentagon this year will help ensure that Fairchild Air Force Base remains top of mind.

Scheduled sessions include conversations with:

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and staff: (HELP - Healthcare, Education, Labor & Pensions), Energy and Commerce
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and staff: Energy, Natural Resources
  • Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and staff: Healthcare, Education
  • Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA): Export-Import Bank
  • Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA): Agribusiness and Environment
  • DOT Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez: Transportation

In addition to the advocacy work GSI has done for decades, this year's trip will incorporate an added emphasis on International Trade. As we fortify our trade efforts to international markets here at home, we will be participating in a roundtable discussion with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in DC. Members from the FICCI roundtable will also join our delegation for a reception at the Embassy of Canada.

Regional Fly-In partners include Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and West Plains Chamber of Commerce. The Grand Reception is sponsored by Asuris Northwest Health, the DC Luncheon is sponsored by University of Washington, and the Mobile App is sponsored by Pearson Packaging Systems.

Follow the trip with hashtags #DCFlyin and #CreateSomethingGreater; read updates on GSI’s Twitter feed (@GreaterSpokane), and read wrap-ups here on the blog.

To coordinate interviews during the DC trip, contact Tricia Webster, GSI's Marketing and Communications Manager, via text at 509.220.8033 or email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Armed Forces Persons of the Year Recognized
(SPOKANE, Wash.) – The Spokane regional community recognized the Armed Forces Persons of the Year and the winner of the Neal R. Fosseen award today, celebrating our region’s outstanding military personnel during the “Let Freedom Ring” program at Greater Spokane Incorporated’s monthly Good Morning Greater Spokane event.

The winners in each category for Armed Forces Persons of the Year are (photos available upon request):

Reserve/Guard, Junior Enlisted
Senior Airman Nicole N. Holland, WA Air National Guard

Reserve/Guard, Mid Grade Enlisted
Petty Officer First Class Jed Kappus, United States Navy Reserve

Reserve/Guard, Senior Enlisted
Master Chief Valencia S. Moon, United States Navy Reserve

Active Duty, Junior Enlisted
Petty Officer Third Class Lisa M. Torres, United States Navy

Active Duty, Mid Grade Enlisted
Technical Sergeant Katina R. Fraley, United States Air Force

Active Duty, Senior Enlisted
Master Sergeant Dawn M. Traurig, United States Air Force

Nominations were solicited from each branch of our armed services. Candidates were interviewed by a group of volunteer judges. The criteria consisted of:

– Responsibilities and accomplishments
– Ability of self-expression
– Appearance, poise and courtesy
– Leadership qualities
– Education and training
– Decorations, awards and honors
– Community involvement and civic activities

The winner of this year’s Neal R. Fosseen Base-Community Relationship Award went to the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

This is the 59th year the Spokane community has recognized the Armed Forces Persons of the Year. The event, titled “Let Freedom Ring,” featured Brigadier General John Tuohy, who currently serves as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, and Commander of the Washington Air National Guard. General Tuohy was commissioned in the United States Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps as a Distinguished Graduate in 1978 and was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base for his first assignment flying as an Electonic Warfare Officer in B-52 bombers.

Mayor David Condon also declared April “Let Freedom Ring” month in the City of Spokane, urging all citizens to help promote the memory and respect for our nation’s heroes.Major Sponsor for this event was Global Credit Union, Supporting Sponsor was Garco Construction, Event Sponsor was Haskins Steel Co., Inc. and support came from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

About Greater Spokane Incorporated
Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), the region’s chamber of commerce 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 development, 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 who employ 145,000 individuals; Washington State; Spokane County; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Cheney, Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Newport. For more information, visit or contact us at 509-624-1393 or 1 800 SPOKANE.

Vision 2030: Creating Robust Medical Education, Research & Bioscience Industry Growth in Spokane
For more than a decade Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) has been committed to providing community leadership that helps create and execute a vision for the growth of medical education, associated health and bioscience research, the spinoff businesses from that research and improved quality healthcare access in our community. Targeting full buildout by 2030, this vision for a comprehensive, world-class, center of academic health sciences medical education, and all that goes with it, could lead to unprecedented economic impact to the Spokane region, by building on our community’s largest economic driver – healthcare.

This project is the single largest economic development opportunity for our region and has the potential to fuel unprecedented economic impact through robust bioscience industry growth. Built on a foundation of four-year undergraduate and graduate medical education expansion, the growth of bioscience research, commercialization and business development will drive an ultimate 20-year economic impact of $1.7 billion annually and lead to the creation of more than 9,000 jobs.

But, why Spokane? Our region is in the midst of a critical physician shortage; in particular, we're experiencing a growing shortage of primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas in eastern Washington. Spokane has all the building blocks for creating a robust medical education and research center including our state’s two largest public universities committed to expanding in Spokane – WSU Spokane’s health sciences and research focused campus with plans to create an independently accredited four-year medical school and the planned expansion of the existing Spokane-based University of Washington School of Medicine’s WWAMI four-year medical school program that ranks #1 in primary care and rural education.

GSI supports the medical education expansion plans of both institutions. Building on the collaborative system of strong health sciences and allied health programs of our regional universities and community colleges with the nationally-recognized, regional community-based healthcare system, the foundation is set for continuing to engage business and community leadership in the advocacy and support for world-class medical education headquartered in Spokane.

As the lead economic development organization in the region, GSI has been working with community and higher education partners to shape this comprehensive vision. GSI is now providing community leadership and strategic oversight for the vision to assure that we achieve the far-reaching economic impact that is possible, by:
• Supporting and providing state legislative advocacy for WSU’s creation of an independently accredited four-year medical school
• Supporting and providing state and federal legislative advocacy for the expansion of Graduate Medical Education (residencies) in eastern Washington
• Providing economic development leadership for bioscience industry growth including biomedical and health-related research, commercialization and bioscience business growth
• Working to fill the health sciences workforce gap in our community through the support of allied health professions educational growth
• Developing the future pipeline of healthcare workforce-ready students through the advancement of STEM strategies (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

A comprehensive center for medical education, research and bioscience industry growth will provide sustained economic impact, improved healthcare access and quality of care, expanded educational opportunities for students in Spokane and the state, and development of a new bioscience commercial sector in our region from research spin-off opportunities and bioscience business growth.

Realizing this vision is vital to the growth of our region. GSI is dedicated to seeing it through as we continue working toward a stronger, healthier and more robust economy, community and state.

For more on this story:
Read the guest opinion from the March 28 edition of The Spokesman-Review, written by our CEO & President, Steve Stevens.
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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.