Last March we hosted our 3rd annual Nyhus-Monument Seattle Policy Forum, featuring distinguished elected officials, panelists and keynote speakers from throughout Washington’s business community. We pulled aside five of them to ask about the challenges and opportunities facing their industries and what’s in store for Washington state businesses and policy makers.
Read what they had to say about trade, life sciences, architecture, development and clean energy technology:
“I think that the continuing issue with trade with Canada is going to be very important. How do you move people and cargo both safely and perhaps more quickly? Canada being a significant trading partner with us. We have a new administration to work with in Canada and we have to make sure that we’re very much on the same sheet of music.” Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Borders Protection
“The life science industry is robust and thriving, but at the same time we’re under real competition from other states – Bay Area, Boston, Texas, New York. I think while things have gone relatively well over the last 10 years, we haven’t seen the same growth rate as those states have had. Tax credits have eroded, and disappeared in the state. Those are baseline factors that I hear from executives all the time. They just wonder, is the state engaged, and do they prioritize the sector? We don’t have to out-compete our competitors, but we need to be competitive with them.” – Marc Cummings, Vice President, Public Policy & External Affairs at Life Science Washington
“Talent, the ability to recruit and attract talent, given the size of the talent pool. Even our company, only 100 employees, and of the 100, seven we’ve recruited from out of market. I’m out recruiting talent across the country right now.” – Clayton Lewis, CEO and Co-founder at Arivale
“As populations grow, we have to reinvent the way we build to be fundamentally a better steward of the environment. We need public policy changes. This really is the only way we’re going to realize the scale of change that we’re interested in, and think is important. That means public awareness. It means political awareness. It’s understanding the jobs benefits. It’s understanding environmental benefits. It’s understanding the enormous benefits for our cities.” Michael Green, – Principal at Michael Green Architecture
“The next step, I think especially from a state perspective, is to continue on the road we’re on right now. We have a clean energy fund right now. What it’s doing is it’s allowing our companies that are truly creating solutions for the world’s most pressing problem—climate change, it’s giving them a platform to demonstrate that technology so they can go sell that technology to the rest of the world.” — Brian Young, Director of Economic Development for the Clean Technology Sector, Washington State Department of Commerce