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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.

September 2016 Issue


Funding Announced for Innovative Hydropower Technologies

The Department of Energy is providing $9.8 million in funding for up to 12 projects to develop innovative technologies that will reduce capital costs and deployment timelines for pumped-storage hydropower and non-powered dams.  The pumped-storage projects will study the feasibility of innovative concepts for close-looped pumped-storage hydropower systems, while the non-powered dam projects will support the development of low-head, modular designs that can reduce infrastructure and construction costs.  Learn more about this project as well as DOE’s new Hydropower Vision Report.

Third Issue of Benton-Franklin Trends Newsletter Now Available

The third issue of Benton-Franklin Trends Newsletter, which provides data about the Tri-Cities and Benton and Franklin counties, is now available.  In this issue, information is given about the median age of the population, the 5-year high school graduation rate, and jobs by educational attainment.  In addition, learn more about the Tri-City Development Council Property Site Selector website, an interactive map of locations of fatal vehicle accidents, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Interactive Mapping Tools website. See the issue.

Tech Opportunities and Resources

SBIR/STTR Phase I, Release 1 Funding Opportunity Announcement

The Department of Energy has issued its Fiscal Year 2017 Phase I Release 1 Funding Opportunity Announcement for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.  Small businesses with strong research capabilities in the programmatic areas of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Biological and Environmental Research, and Nuclear Physics are encouraged to apply. Letters of intent are due September 6, with grant applications due by October 17.  Review the topic areas. Download the FOA and application package.

Washington PTAC Offers On-Demand Webinars

Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is providing free, on-demand contracting webinars.  These webinars include:

  • Understanding the Solicitation and Proposal Development.  This training covers the review process, the bid-no bid decision, tools for preparing a bid response, proposal errors to avoid, and the final review process.
  • Change Orders.  This training is designed to help small businesses prepare for the unexpected.
  • Estimating and Bidding: Creating a System for Profitability, Parts One and Two.  Part One provides the fundamentals needed to begin the estimating process, while Part Two continues to lay the groundwork, including building the estimate and common errors to avoid.
  • Negotiation Principals: Getting to Win/Win.  This training provides the basics of negotiation, how to manage the process without "losing your cool," and what to know before the conversation starts.
  • Working with Prime Contractors.  This training provides best practices and issues to avoid when working with a prime contractor.

Get more information, the full list of webinars, and register.

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.  Confluent, located in Richland, offers memberships starting at $35 per month.  Classes include:

  • September 11.  3D Printer Tool Training, 1 – 3 pm.

  • September 24.  Live Sound Production with Trevor Martin, 2 - 10 pm.

  • November 5.  Intro to Soldering: String Car Racing, 1 - 3 pm. 

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

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Small Business Contracting and Legal Issues

September 13.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Small Business Contracting and Legal Issues” on September 13 from 1 – 4 pm at the Tri-Cities Business and Convention Center in Kennewick, WA. This interactive workshop will provide information about recent updates in federal government contracting as well as other essential subjects small businesses need to know to protect their business. No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

Port of Pasco Offers Small Business Workshop in Spanish

September 17.   The Port of Pasco is offering a Small Business Workshop: Key for Entrepreneurs for Spanish-speaking participants on September 17 from 9 am – noon at the Port of Pasco in Pasco, WA.  Attendees will learn to create a business plan, avoid common tax problems, and learn communications assertiveness.  Cost to attend is $20, lunch included.  To register, call 509-554-7005.

Celebrate National Drive Electric Week

September 17.   A family-friendly event to observe National Drive Electric Week will be held September 17 from noon – 4:30 pm at the Richland Public Library in Richland, WA.  Attendees will see and learn about various plug-in electric vehicles and hear a presentation about current and future electric vehicles. No cost to attend.  Register or volunteer, or get more information.

Government Contracting Essentials

September 21.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Government Contracting Essentials” on September 21 from 9 – 11 am at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Kennewick, WA. Participants will learn the basics of marketing and selling products and services to federal, state, and local government agencies; how to classify products and services; how to register in the correct databases; and the various types of solicitations. No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

Partnership, Innovation and Technology Networking

September 22.   Eastern Washington University, in partnership with Fuse and the Tri-Cities Research District, presents “Partnership, Innovation and Technology Networking” from 4 – 6 pm in the Fuse Co-Working Space in Richland, WA.  Participants will learn more about Eastern in the region, Fuse’s co-working entrepreneurs, and the support of research and technology fostered by the Tri-Cities Research District.  Eastern alumni will also share cyber security expertise relative to education, small business, and the Tri-Cities’ community. No cost to attend.  Register by September19.

Meet the Buyer: Doing Business on Washington State Contracts

September 27.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Meet the Buyer: Doing Business on Washington State Contracts” on September 27 from 3 – 5 pm at the Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center in Kennewick, WA.  The Washington State Department of Enterprise Services purchases millions of dollars of products and services from area small businesses each year.  Learn how to participate in state contracting and be better prepared to take part in this government marketplace.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

Innovation Showcase: Energizing the Pipeline of Clean Technologies

October 6 - 7.   The National Renewable Energy Laboratory presents “Innovation Showcase: Energizing the Pipeline of Clean Technologies” on October 6 – 7 in Beaver Creek, CO.  By invitation, clean technology entrepreneurs, investment professionals, strategic industry partners, and ecosystem members will receive an early look at promising clean technology solutions and companies working with the national labs.  Express interest in attending.  Learn more.

Meet the Navy

October 14.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Meet the Navy” on October 14 from 10 am – noon at Greater Spokane Incorporated in Spokane, WA.  This no-cost outreach, training and networking event is directed towards small businesses with a desire to sell to the Navy. Learn the basics of selling to the Navy, what the Navy buys, and how they purchase goods and services.  Space is limited.  Learn more and register.

Bridging Partnerships

October 18 - 19.   The Tri-City Development Council and the Hanford Small Business Council present the 2016 Bridging Partnerships Small Business Symposium, held October 18 – 19 at TRAC in Pasco, WA.  This event provides networking opportunities for small businesses to network with the best businesses in industry.  Each year, more than 250 small business owners and procurement executives attend the reception, luncheon, and breakout sessions.  Cost is $75 to attend the event, $100 after September 30.  See the agenda.  Register.

Understanding Government Contracting Solicitations

November 16.   Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is offering “Understanding Government Contracting Solicitations” on November 16 from 9 – 10:30 am at the Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center in Kennewick, WA. Participants will learn to understand the bidding process and how to respond to government solicitations. No cost to attend.  Learn more and register.

PNNL This Month

PNNL Helping Make Hydropower Cheaper, More Fish-Friendly

Enabling fish to migrate past dams could cost a fraction of the price of conventional fish ladders with the help of the Salmon Cannon, which transports fish through a flexible tube using a small difference in pressure across fish.  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will use a $300,000 grant from the Department of Energy’s Small Business Vouchers Pilot to evaluate the technology, which was developed by Seattle, WA-based Whooshh Innovations.  Learn more. 

Local Wind Powering More U.S. Companies

American companies are increasingly making their own power with wind turbines located near the factories and buildings that consume the power they make, concludes a report released on August 17.  The 2015 Distributed Wind Market Report offers the fourth annual analysis of a growing field called distributed wind, which involves generating wind power near where it will be used instead of purchasing power from large, centralized wind farms.  “Wind plays a key role in the rising area of distributed energy,” said report co-author Alice Orrell, an energy analyst at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  Learn more and get the report.

DOE Provides $15 Million to Algal Biomass Projects

The Department of Energy has announced up to $15 million in funding for three projects to reduce production costs of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts through improvements in algal biomass yields.  California-based Global Algae Innovations Inc. and MicroBio Engineering Inc. as well as Algenol Biotech LLC of Florida will receive the funds to develop highly productive algal cultivation systems and link those systems with effective, energy-efficient, and low-cost harvest and processing technologies.  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is collaborating on two of the projects.  Learn more about the projects.

Fraudulent Purchase Orders

Suppliers and vendors to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory should be aware that fraudulent purchase orders are being circulated.  If you do not recognize the PNNL contact name on a purchase order you’ve received, or you’ve never done business with PNNL and have received a purchase order, please contact PNNL toll free at 1-888-375-7665.  PNNL is not liable for unauthorized or fraudulent activities purporting to be from PNNL.

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