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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.

February 2016 Issue


Washington Named Third Most Innovative State in America

Washington State has been named the third most innovative state in America, according to a Bloomberg ranking.  The ranking scored each of the 50 states on a 0 – 100 scale across six equally weighted metrics:  R&D intensity; productivity; high-tech density; concentration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics employment; science and engineering degree holders; and patent activity.  Massachusetts and California claim the first and second rankings, respectively.  Learn more.

SIGN Fracture Care International Awarded Afghanistan Medal of Honor

SIGN Fracture Care International Founder and President Lew Zirkle and CEO Jeanne Dillner received the Allama Sayad Jamaluddin Afghan Medal, Afghanistan’s second-highest honor, for SIGN’s work in treating more than 5,000 patients by providing education and SIGN implants and instruments to programs in that country.  The Richland, WA-based company designs, manufactures, and donates—or sells at affordable cost—orthopaedic implants for use in under-resourced hospitals.  Read more about this honor.

Local Companies Honored as Largest, Fastest-Growing Minority-Owned Businesses

Pasco, WA-based Indian Eyes LLC and Kennewick, WA’s Apollo Mechanical Contractors were recognized as two of the largest minority-owned businesses in Washington State by the Puget Sound Business Journal.  Apollo was listed third and Indian eyes fifteenth as the fastest growing minority-owned businesses, with $272.97 million and $17.43 million earned in revenue in 2014, respectively. In addition, Indian Eyes ranked fifth in fastest-growing minority-owned businesses in the state, increasing revenue by 118% from 2012-2014.  Learn more about Apollo Mechanical Contractors.  Learn more about Indian Eyes LLC.

Glyph Considered Coolest Gadget at CES 2016

The Avegant Glyph was hailed by USA Today as the “coolest gadget” of CES 2016, the major Consumer Electronics Show held in January in Las Vegas, NV.  In conjunction,, a unit of USA Today, handed the Glyph a coveted CES 2016 Editor’s Choice Award.  Avegant, who licensed Glyph from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and together received a 2014 R&D 100 Award for development of the technology, calls the device "the world’s first personal theater.”  Read more.  Learn more about Glyph.

Tech Opportunities and Resources

Coming Soon: Tech Assistance for Clean Energy Businesses

Small clean-tech businesses nationwide can apply to receive no-cost technical assistance from the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) national laboratories such as Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, beginning in late February or early March 2016.  That’s when Round 2 of DOE’s Small Business Vouchers Pilot begins taking requests for assistance.  The deadline to apply is expected to be April 1, 2016.  Check the Small Business Vouchers Pilot website in early March for more details.

SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Solicitation

A Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer solicitation is now open for small businesses to propose ideas for development of technologies or services to various branches and agencies within the Department of Defense. These include, but are not limited to, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Chemical and Biological Defense Program, and Defense Logistics Agency. Proposals are due February 17.  For a full list of branches/agencies and the specific instructions for each….

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Walla Walla Government Contracting Workshop

February 3.   Washington Procurement Technology Assistance Center is offering “Walla Walla Government Contracting Workshop” on February 3 from 9:30 – 11:30 am at the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce in Walla Walla, WA.  This workshop helps participants understand how to do business with and market to the local, state, and federal agencies and prime contractors.   No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

Fuse Launches Launch University, Other Events Targeted at Entrepreneurs

February 5 – April 21.  Fuse SPC, a co-working center in Richland, WA, is offering a series of startup education and events aimed at moving “ideas to businesses:"

  • February 5.  A planning meeting for events will be held February 5, noon at Graze on the Parkway in Richland. 

  • February 19.  Rise and Shine will provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs to enjoy coffee and collaboration each month, starting February 19, 8 am at The Local in Kennewick, WA.  There is no cost to participate.

  • February 19.  Pitch Night is an opportunity for idea incubation where entrepreneurs can learn how to excite others about their business ideas.  Pitch Night will be held February 19 at 6 pm at the Fuse facility, then will occur every other month thereafter.  There is no cost to participate. 

  • March 31 – April 21.  Launch University, a four-week “boot camp” designed to help potential entrepreneurs build upon their ideas for starting a service or product business, begins March 31, 7 pm at the Fuse facility in Richland.  Those who pitch ideas that are successful during Launch University will move on to Launch Weekend on April 22 – 24, where business prototypes will be developed and judges will vote on the viability of business plans.  Winning teams will then be invited to participate in Boost, a multi-week accelerator that will be held in Fall 2016.  No cost to Fuse members.  Cost to non-members is $40 for entrepreneurs, $20 for students.  Members and non-members can register now.

    Those interested in learning more about these events should contact Fuse Executive Director Heather Unwin (509-572-3820).  Get more information about Fuse.

Government Contracting Essentials

February 17.   Washington Procurement Technology Assistance Center is offering “Government Contracting Essentials” on February 17 from 10 am – noon at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Kennewick, WA.  Participants will learn the basics of marketing and selling products to federal, state and local government agencies.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

Alliance Northwest

March 10.   Alliance Northwest, a government contracting event that brings together prime contractors, government agencies, and small businesses, will be held March 10 from 7 am – 4 pm at the Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup, WA.  The event is designed for small businesses to meet government agency representatives, explore sub-contracting opportunities with prime contractors, and attend high-quality training workshops.  Cost to attend is $115.  Learn more and register.

Market Research for Government Contracting

April 14.   Washington Procurement Technology Assistance Center is offering “Market Research for Government Contracting” on April 14 from 9 – 10:30 am at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Kennewick, WA.  Participants will learn how to analyze current and future needs, select the best databases to uncover needed information, and identify which agencies and prime contractors to target.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

PNNL This Month

Research Collaboration for Lightweight Materials No Longer a Heavy Lift

A one-stop shop is now available for industrial researchers who want to use unique capabilities and talent found at Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories in an effort to develop lighter materials.  The Lightweight Materials Lab Consortium—or LightMAT—has been established by DOE and will be managed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to provide a network of nine national labs with technical capabilities highly relevant to lightweight materials development and use. 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