Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Economic Development Office

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.

December 2016 Issue


SciTech Northwest Illuminates Scientific Progress

SciTech Northwest, held in Seattle, WA on November 9, was the region’s first science and technology expo highlighting the latest innovations in cyber/data analytics, clean energy, and biotechnology.  Inventors and commercialization experts from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Washington, and Washington State University showcased more than 20 new technologies to attendees from businesses, industry and academia.  Featured technologies included WSU’s effort to bring modern sensing technologies and data analysis to the field of phenomics as well as PNNL’s Digital Ants cyber software and Sensor Fish.  Read more.

Washington State University–Tri-Cities Developing Cybersecurity Program

Washington State University-Tri-Cities will be offering more classes focused on cybersecurity and plans to hire a faculty member by fall 2017.  “Every day, when we listen to the news, we hear reports about cyber incursions,” said Joseph Iannelli, Director of the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “This is very serious. We have to have professionals with the education, knowledge, and experience to effectively counter these incursions.”  Washington companies anticipate hiring 5,000 cybersecurity professionals within the next five years.  Read more.

Mahler Named Washington State Mentor of the Year for Third Consecutive Year

P. Simon Mahler, business mentor with Mid-Columbia Tri-Cities SCORE, was unanimously voted 2016 Washington State Mentor of the Year for District 1013.  The honor signifies the third consecutive year that Mahler has received the award.  In 2016 alone, Mahler accounted for nearly 65% of all mentored sessions in Washington State, as well as 91 successful small business launches across the nation.  The Mid-Columbia Tri-Cities SCORE chapter provides resources and services in 15 counties covering Idaho, Oregon and Washington.  Learn more.

Tech Opportunities and Resources

University of Washington Offers Business Growth Collaborative

The University of Washington Foster School of Business is offering the 2017 Business Growth Collaborative, a cohort-based program designed to leverage the school’s resources and networks to grow small- to medium-sized companies in the clean tech and food/beverage manufacturing industries.  During this program, participants will develop three-year strategic growth plans; access consulting teams of business students who will work on the companies’ strategic projects; and network with business experts, leaders, and other entrepreneurs.  Tuition is $1,000, with a limited number of scholarships available on a first come, first served basis.  Applications are due by December 15.  Learn more and apply.

FY17 SBIR/STTR Phase I, Release 2 Topics

The Department of Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program has released the topics for its FY17 Phase I, Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement.  Topics vary widely and include remote sensing technologies, advanced grid technologies, advanced manufacturing, buildings, and advanced technologies for fusion energy systems and nuclear energy.  A webinar is available December 2 (2 - 3:30 pm EST).  Letters of Intent are due December 19, with applications due February 7.  Learn more. Register for webinar.

How to Write a Successful DOE SBIR/STTR Proposal

The Department of Energy Phase 0 Assistance Program has released the last video in a three-part series focused exclusively on writing a winning grant application in response to a Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program Funding Opportunity Announcement.  The final video, just over nine minutes long, provides guidance on how to develop a solid commercialization plan, at what point the process begins when applying for a DOE grant, and how businesses can involve their teams in the process.  See all three videos.

Survey Available to Identify Oregon Entrepreneur Needs

A 10-minute survey designed to query Oregon entrepreneurs on their needs is now available.  The survey data will help Oregon BEST—a non-profit business incubator—to better understand and serve the needs of entrepreneurs across the state.  All Oregon business owners are invited to take the survey.  Take the survey.

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:

  • December 7.  Jumpstart into Python (easy programming language for beginners), 6 - 8 pm.
  • December 9.  Laser Cutter Tool Training, 5 - 6:50 pm. 
  • December 14.  Soldering 101, 6 - 9 pm.
  • January 4. Jumpstart into Python, Part 2, 6 - 8 pm. 
  • January 7 and January 29.  3D Printer Tool Training, 1 - 3 pm.
  • January 18.  Soldering 101, 6 - 8 pm.

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

Upcoming Government Contracting Workshops, Webinars

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:

  • December 8.  Government Contracting Essentials, 9 - 11 am at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Kennewick, WA.
  • December 12.  Meet the Buyer: Doing Business with the Ports, 2 - 4 pm at the Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center in Kennewick, WA.

In addition, Washington PTAC offers free weekly webinars designed to provide the small business owner with information and updates on top government contracting topics:

  • December 7.  Supply Chain Management Center - Helping Small Businesses Understand DOE's Enterprise-Wide Sourcing System, 9 - 10 am.

See the PTAC workshop calendar. See the PTAC list of webinars. 

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Energy Institute for Societal Outcomes

December 5.  Energy is critical to our society, economy, and quality of life.  It’s also a major source of uncertainty and risk to the environment.  This creates an opportunity gap for many businesses: How to effectively provide their communities with environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and operational resiliency.  The proposed Energy Institute for Societal Outcomes will train leaders to navigate conundrums created at the intersection of energy, environment, and the economy to create successful long-term societal outcomes.  Jimmy Jia, co-founder and CEO of Distributed Energy Management, will be in Richland, WA on December 5 and is available to speak with those interested in learning more about the Energy Institute for Societal Outcomes.  Those interested in setting up an appointment should contact Jimmy Jia.  Get more information on the proposed Institute.

Xconomy Intersect: Innovating Where Disciplines Collide

December 8.  XConomy is hosting the seminar “Xconomy Intersect: Innovating Where Disciplines Collide” on December 8, 12:30 – 6:30 pm at 415 Westlake Ave. N. in Seattle, WA.  This seminar explores where disciplines, industries, and cultures intersect—resulting in the most interesting innovations, as presented by top investors, company builders, startup leaders, and researchers.  Among the speakers is Rosemarie Truman, Director of Innovation Impact at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who will discuss “Creating Intersections: Modern Approaches to Technology Transfer.”  Cost is $135 by December 6, $175 by December 8, and $200 at the door; $75 for employees of startup companies less than three years old and with 20 or fewer employees; and $30 for full-time students.  Small processing fees also apply.   See agenda.  Register.

PNNL This Month

PNNL Wins Two R&D 100 Awards for Underground Cleanup, Carbon Capture

Tools that track underground contaminants and speed carbon capture technology development were named among the 100 most innovative scientific breakthroughs of the year by R&D Magazine.  The Real-Time Four-Dimensional Subsurface Imaging Software was developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to help determine the extent of contamination and what is driving its migration.  No other commercial subsurface modeling software constructs 3D, time-lapse images of how the subsurface changes over time, in real time.  The second technology, the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative Toolset, supports and accelerates the development, scale-up, and commercialization of various post-combustion carbon-capture technologies—reducing time needed to commercialize the technologies.  The awards were announced November 3 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.  Learn more.

State's Three Largest Public Research Institutions to Increase Collaboration

Leaders from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Washington, and Washington State University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that expresses their intent to increase research collaborations on complex challenges and provide research and training opportunities for students.  “By working together, we can increase the impact and raise the visibility of the science and technology that our state is delivering to address pressing challenges in energy, the environment, and global security,” said PNNL Director Steven Ashby.  Learn more.

Fuel from Sewage is the Future--and It's Closer than You Think

Wastewater treatment plants across the nation may one day turn ordinary sewage into biocrude oil, thanks to research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  The technology, called hydrothermal liquefaction, mimics the geological conditions the Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes nature millions of years.  The resulting material is like petroleum pumped out of the ground, but with a small amount of water and oxygen mixed in.  This biocrude can then be refined using conventional petroleum refining operations. 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