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Tri-Cities Tech Business Update

This monthly e-mailed update contains news, opportunities, upcoming events, and other information about Mid-Columbia tech businesses and the organizations that support them.

March 2017 Issue


TRIDEC's Petersen Retiring in March

Gary Petersen, a longtime champion of securing federal funds to clean up Hanford and invigorate the local economy, is retiring March 3.  For the past 14 years, Petersen served as the vice president of federal programs within the Tri-City Development Council.  During his time at TRIDEC, Petersen and others partnered on many successful endeavors, including working with congressional offices to increase federal budgets for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as well as Hanford cleanup; strongly supporting Department of Energy subcontracting to small businesses, with more than $500 million per year going to small businesses during the past decade; and signing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park into law in December 2015.  Prior to his tenure at TRIDEC, Petersen served as the Director of Communications at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  TRIDEC has been in the process of screening applicants to replace Petersen and expects to have a successor on board in early March.  Learn more about TRIDEC. This information is courtesy of the Tri-Cities Journal of Business.

Local College Receives Donation for Wireless Upgrade

Tri-Cities, WA-based Columbia Basin College has received a $70,000 donation to help replace its aging wireless internet system.  The donation, from Battelle, goes towards the $350,000 needed to replace the 12-year-old system, which was installed before smartphones and tablets were introduced to the public.  Battelle is the operator of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA.  Learn more.

Tech Opportunities and Resources

Economic Gardening Program

The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce has launched the second round of the Tri-Cities Economic Gardening Program.  This program offers qualifying businesses information on how to develop new markets, refine business models, and gain access to competitive intelligence.  Eligible businesses must be a for-profit, privately held company headquartered and operating in Benton or Franklin counties; have between $1 million and $50 million in annual revenue or working capital in place; and employ 10 to 99 full-time equivalent employees, including the owners. Applications will be accepted until March 31.  The program is supported by Battelle and Gesa Credit Union.  Read the full list of eligibility criteria and apply.  

GAIN Announces Small Business Voucher Opportunity

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear—or GAIN—has announced the availability of fiscal year 2017 funds for small business vouchers to assist applicants with developing advanced nuclear energy technologies, via access to the national laboratory complex. Letters of Intent are requested by March 9 and will enable GAIN to help identify appropriate facilities and staff who can support the application. Final applications are due April 10. Learn more.

Classes Offered at Confluent

Confluent, a makerspace targeted to the arts and tech communities in Tri-Cities, WA, offers a variety of classes for members and non-members.  Located in Richland, Confluent offers memberships starting at $35 per month.  Classes include:

  • March 4.  Wicked Laser-Cut Art Class, 11 am - 12:30 pm.  

Classes are at the Confluent facility.  See the full variety of classes offered.  Learn more about Confluent.

Upcoming Government Contracting Workshops

Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is a statewide organization dedicated to guiding companies through the entire process of applying for and fulfilling government contracts.  Washington PTAC offers no-cost workshops that help inform small business owners and others about aspects of contracting, including:

  • March 14.  Marketing to the Federal Government, 9 - 10:30 am, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Kennewick, WA.
  • March 28.  GSA 101 - Multiple Schedules Program, 9 - 11 am, Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center, Kennewick, WA.
  • April 6.  Meet the Buyer: Doing Business with Local Transit Systems, 10:30 am - noon, Tri-Cities Business and Vistor Center, Kennewick, WA.

See the PTAC workshop calendar.

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Alliance Northwest 2017

March 9.  Alliance Northwest, the largest business-to-government conference in the Pacific Northwest, is being held March 9 from 7:30 am – 4 pm at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup, WA.  The conference is open to businesses interested in selling to the government and prime contractors, as well as prime contractors and government buyers seeking to reach out to small and diverse businesses.  This conference provides opportunities for networking as well as workshops and keynote presentations on topics such as achieving success and latest trends.  Cost is $115 through March 7, $135 at the door. Learn more and register.

31st International Conference on Business Incubation

March 25 – 29.  The 31st International Conference on Business Incubation is being held March 25 – 29 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel in Seattle, WA.  Entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders from around the world attend this conference to discover industry trends and best practices for establishing high-growth programs.  Cost for the full conference for non-InBIA members is $1,045 until March 10, $1,145 after.  One day admission is $745, or $845 after March 10.  Learn more and view the agenda.  Register.

Launch Weekend

March 31 – April 2.  Fuse Coworking is hosting Launch Weekend on March 31 through April 2 at Washington State University - Tri-Cities CIC in Richland, WA.  This is an opportunity for teams of entrepreneurs to explore their ideas for businesses, non-profits, or startups and pitch the ideas in front of a judging panel – with the top teams awarded an entrepreneurial starter kit.  Cost to participate is $100 per person, $50 for students. Learn more about Launch Weekend.  Register.

Save the Date - Call for Chemist Entrepreneurs

June 25 – 28.  Chemistry-related startups and researchers who want marketplace insights are invited to participate at the American Chemical Society’s 2017 Regional Meeting, June 25 through 28, at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. The Lens of the Market Innovation workshop is a half-day training event for researchers who want to better understand the markets for their ideas and technologies. A separate Innovation Fair offers 16 vetted spots for early-stage ventures to display their chemistry-related products and services for the business and tech communities. Other sessions for participants feature technology commercialization and venture funding. Discounts are available for early registration, graduate students, and post-docs. Learn more.

PNNL This Month

Federally Developed Technologies Go to Work

Two technologies developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were recipients of the 2017 Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer.  The first technology is the Physical and Cyber Risk Analysis Tool, which was licensed to Albuquerque, NM-based RhinoCorps, Ltd. Co. in 2016 after being demonstrated to industry and government licensees through the Department of Homeland Security’s Transition to Practice Program.  The second technology, Smartphone Microscope, is an inexpensive tool made available for public access via free downloadable 3D printer design. PNNL has earned 85 of these technology transfer awards since program inception in 1984.  Learn more.

PNNL Begins Plans for New Research Lab

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is in the early stages of planning for an estimated $90 million research facility.  The Energy Sciences Capability Project would be used for fundamental research in chemistry and materials science.  The building is projected to be about 100,000 square feet and would house about 150 staff.  Learn more.

Got News?

We invite your contributions! We will consider items that fit the mission of this publication, including your tech-related news, awards, and notices of upcoming events. Please send text and photos to or call (509) 371-6017.

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update is published by the Economic Development Office at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Each month, we send you an e-mail message, giving you the link of news, tips, awards, upcoming events, and other information about local technology-based businesses and organizations that support them. With business and community partners, our goal is to build and diversify the Tri-Cities economy—adding skilled jobs in primary-sector industries that bring in outside dollars. Currently, more than 1,100 tech-related businesses, investors, and economic development stakeholders subscribe to the newsletter, mostly in the Mid-Columbia area and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. This newsletter (RL-P00-009) supports DOE-Richland's vision for the future of the Hanford Site and surrounding area through the creation of research opportunities, new industries, and new business clusters